Without protection: Threat of hidden landmines looms large

Tariq Mehsud, Taj’s father, told The Express Tribune his son was initially brought to Jandola in Frontier Region Tank for treatment. However, he was shifted to DI Khan District Headquarters Hospital. PHOTO: FILE

Tariq Mehsud, Taj’s father, told The Express Tribune his son was initially brought to Jandola in Frontier Region Tank for treatment. However, he was shifted to DI Khan District Headquarters Hospital. PHOTO: FILE

DI KHAN CUM TANK / DI KHAN: Although various parts of South Waziristan Agency have been declared safe for displaced families to return to, there has been a sudden spike in casualties caused by landmines hidden under rocks.
Recently, 12-year old Taj Muhammad Mehsud was injured when he stepped on a mine hidden under the rocks in Nazar Khal Kalay village of Kot Kai. Taj is a student of class 5. On that fated day, he was grazing cattle in the mountains and ran after a goat that had been separated from the herd. The 12-year-old stepped on a hidden mine and injured his foot.
The boy’s family has pressed the government to provide him funds for treatment and to make the area safe for locals.
Tariq Mehsud, Taj’s father, told The Express Tribune his son was initially brought to Jandola in Frontier Region Tank for treatment. However, he was shifted to DI Khan District Headquarters Hospital.
“A few days ago, a girl from our village got injured.” He said. “These hidden mines [in the region] are dangerous and something should be done to prevent these incidents.”
Over the last 12 years, more than a dozen such incidents have surfaced. This has adversely impacted the lives of locals.
“The government has to alert itself to these incidents,” said Abdul Waheed Mehsud, a youth wing leader. “It is our joint responsibility [to cope with this crisis]. We all have to cooperate and realise the hardships faced by our people.”
The Mehsud tribe was displaced from their homes in SWA following Operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2006.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2016.

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