Elders show concern over growing robberies in Khyber

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By Ashrafuddin Pirzada

PAKISTAN: The tribal elders of district Khyber on Sunday have expressed grave concerns over the rising incidents of robbery and burglary in different parts of the Khyber tribal district, especially in the far-flung Tirah valley.

Talking to this scribe Malik Salahuddin Kokikhel said that unemployment of local youth was the main reason for such incidents taking place nowadays.

Salahuddin said that a gradual reduction in bilateral trade with Afghanistan since 2018 rendered a large number of local tribesmen, especially youth, jobless.

He said that prior to 2018, the incidents of robbery and theft were minimal while a smaller number of tribesmen were inclined towards various types of drugs including Ice drug as they were mostly employed and financially stable.

“Unfortunately our youth are now finding solace in taking drugs, especially the notorious ice drug, They are also involved in burglaries, thefts and road robberies owing to unemployment,” Malik Salahuddin expressed.

Another Kokikhel elder Malik Israr, who is also a senior political leader, appealed to the government to create employment opportunities along with the provision of loans on easy terms to tribal youth to overcome the problem of unemployment in the region.

He said that trade with Afghanistan and the Central Asian states should be enhanced by facilitating local traders so that more employment opportunities could be created for locals.

Malik Faizullah Jan Kokikhel, another prominent demanded of the government to expedite the process of return of displaced Kokikhel families to Rajgal and surrounding areas of Tirah valley.

He said that most of those displaced families were living in different cities and towns of the country in different circumstances as they had little or no sources of income.

He said that militancy and more than 10 years of displacement resulted in complete destruction of the entire social fabric of life in the affected areas.
“Our houses, mosques, schools, health centres and roads are destroyed while the natural forests have also been ruthlessly chopped and precious timber smuggled out of most parts of Tirah,” he added