Fata journalists fear militants regrouping -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Fata journalists fear militants regrouping

By Mumtaz Alvi

ISLAMABAD: Journalists from the tribal areas working with leading newspapers have feared resurgence of the militants, saying their frontline leadership was intact in various parts of Fata, where the government had no or partial control.

They charged that neither had they access to the areas under curfew in Tehsil Bara and elsewhere nor had they been allowed to see those in the custody of the law enforcement agencies. “We are told about arrests every now and then, we are not allowed to see who are those apprehended,” one of these newsmen said.

The media persons from Fata were here Friday for the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected cabinet of the Tribal Union of Journalists, Khyber Agency. This correspondent talked to some of them to get first-hand information of what they had been witnessing with regard to the on-going military action against terrorists in the tribal belt.

These journalists were not sure how long it would take the security forces to eliminate the terrorists from Fata or would be able to do so, as they alleged, curfew was clamped in prominent areas, whereas, the other locations were free for militants to move about and act at will.

Central President of the Tribal Union of Journalists Ibrahim Shinwari, who is associated with an English daily and also works for a foreign broadcasting company, said that the administration perhaps lacked the ability to ensure the state writ across Fata for one reason or the other.

“Because of the presence and influence of the militants, the mechanism of political agents has been crippled to an extent and hence, a vacuum, created as a consequence, needed to be filled immediately,” he sais.

Main leaders of the militants, he noted, were still surviving, because of what he alleged the government or establishment’s policy or they faced difficulty to get them. However, he hastened to add that it was not difficult to rid the region of militants, who had their safe havens, where they moved freely on their own transport. “There is an easy way to greatly impede their mobility and ability to carry out attacks by cutting petroleum products supply to them and making ineffective mobile service there,” he argued.
Source: The News
Date:3/22/2010