Waziristan Update

The cross-border Tribal Jirgas are now starting, as we can see from this article:

CHITRAL, 13 Nov, 06: A Jirga comprising of teams from Chitral and Afghanistan met at Bir Kot Nari of Kunar province Afghanistan to discuss cross border Law an Order situation. The Chitral team comprising of Nazims Union councils and elders was led by Tehsil Nazim Sartaj Ahmad Khan, while the Afghan side was led by Lali Ameer member  Afghan provincial assembly.

The Jirga  agreed on controlling any possible terrorism activities and proclaimed that soil of both countries will never be allowed to be used by miscreants. A committee was detailed to discuss these matters after every two months. It was decided that a registration card would be issued to Afghan refugees before crossing the border. The two parties also agreed to inform each other before taking any stern action in case of any type of violation of borders.

They agreed for mutual understanding that both nationalities having mutual religions, culture and history. They stressed upon for keeping of peace at each price. (GH Farooqi)

I suspect we will see more of these along different sections of the border leading into the grand Tribal Jirga in which Musharraf and Karzai are rumored to be participants of. We will have to wait and see if the outcome is good or not. Meanwhile, registration of Afghanis and other foreign “refugees” continues, from Pak Tribune:

A total of 219,726 Afghans have been registered since the registration exercise started on October 15. This includes 99,955 from North West Frontier Province, 55,650 from Balochistan, 25,379 from Sindh, 34,531 from Punjab and 4,211 from Azad Kashmir.

Only people who were counted in the 2005 census of Afghans in Pakistan can take part in the ongoing registration, which is based on the census database. The census counted 3.04 million Afghans in Pakistan in early 2005. Since then, more than 580,000 have repatriated to Afghanistan, leaving an estimated 2.4 million Afghans living in Pakistan today.

One of the factors clogging up the process is that Afghans who were not in the census are coming to the centres to try their luck, said UNHCR’s Assistant Representative in Pakistan, Indrika Ratwatte. This means that those who are truly eligible have to wait much longer for their turn. We are urging the community elders to ensure that this does not happen.

He urged more eligible Afghans to come forward for registration, adding that the Proof of Registration (POR) card offers official identification and protection for those registered. At the same time, he appealed to Afghans who were not included in the 2005 census to give their eligible compatriots a chance to register before registration ends on December 31.