By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The Harban tribe in Kohistan has pardoned the assailants who had killed four men over a land dispute near Diamer-Bhasha Dam two years ago. The goodwill gesture came a day after a top cleric from Gilgit brokered a truce.
In February 2014, five people lost their lives and several others were injured during armed clashes between the two tribes – Thore and Harban. They were fighting over 10 kilometres of land near Basari check post. The disputed land is among the area being demarcated for acquisition for the much-awaited dam.
While speaking to The Express Tribune, Ishtiaq Ahmed, a resident of Diamer, said, “This is a historic moment for the region. Both tribes announced they have forgotten the [long-standing rivalry] and forgiven each other.”
A jirga member added, “The cleric and jirga did the task that was supposed to be done by the government.”
On Sunday, Qazi Nisar, an influential cleric from Gilgit, along with members of a jirga brokered a truce between Thor and Harban tribes. Both tribes had staked a claim over the land and had stuck to their guns.
In the backdrop
Earlier this month, villagers from Harban tribe held sit-in on Karakoram Highway and demanded the boundary commission report be made public. They disrupted traffic for several days. However, the rival tribespeople from Thore Valley refused to accept the findings of the commission because it only comprised one member.
The boundary commission constituted by the federal government has so far remained unsuccessful in settling the dispute.
Personnel of the Frontier Constabulary have been deployed on the disputed territory as elders from Thore threatened to halt work on the dam till the issue was settled.
The nearly 10-kilometre stretch of land on both sides of Basari check post, which separates Kohistan from G-B, has long been a bone of contention between people of Thore Valley in Diamer and Harban Nala in Kohistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2016.