KHYBER AGENCY - After remaining in their custody for 155 days, 17 abductees were released by unidentified militants somewhere in Afghanistan. The released persons arrived back to their village safe and sound on Saturday.

It is to be mentioned here that on September 4, 2017, unidentified armed persons kidnapped 17 tribesmen , from seven families of Abdukhad village, who had been in Anzar Naw, the remote and bordering area, for repairing gravity water supply scheme.

Landi Kotal Assistant Political Agent Niaz Muhammad told The Nation that on Friday night at 9pm, the abductees were received from the Afghan security forces at Zaman Sapary border entrance.

From where they were taken to forces cantonment and on Saturday morning they were handed over to their heirs at a ceremony.

Warm welcome was given as hundreds of local tribesmen thronged the administration’s office gate to receive their released fellow tribesmen .

Sharing his unpleasant experience, an 8th grade student abductee, Ayazullah son of Abdul Malik said that early days of his abduction were tough as the kidnappers put them in a dark room, somewhere in Afghanistan.

He said that at times the kidnappers used to subject them to physical torture; however later on, they changed their behaviour towards them.

“I am delighted to be set free but I am depressed as I have missed much of my lessons in school,” Ayazullah regretted.

Abdul Malik expressed his delight over the safe release of the abductees. He said without the support of the Khyber Political Alliance, the political administration, journalists community and members of the Parliament, the release of their relatives could not have been possible.

On a query, Abdul Malik added that not a single penny had been paid as ransom although the militants repeatedly demanded it.

PROTEST AGAINST NLC POLICIES HELD

A protest demonstration was staged in Torkham by tribesmen against the policies followed by National Logistics Cell in Khyber Agency on Saturday.

Numbers of tribesmen of Khuga Khel tribe took part in the protest.

The protesting tribesmen were holding banner inscribed with slogans in the favour of their demands. They also carried black flags to express they are resent over the plan, structured by NLC at Torkham Border. According to them, it left thousands jobless.

Leading the protest, speakers including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fata chapter General Sectary Mufti Ijaz, Chairman Torkham clearing agent association Mirajuddin Shinwari, Majeeb Shinwari and others criticised NLC for implementing anti-tribal schemes that caused economic assassination of thousands of tribesmen in the area.

They maintained that the organization erected unnecessary blockades in front of private markets that completely halted business activities at the border.

“NCL is attempting to get hold of the whole Torkham but will never let it succeed in its malpractice”, the protesters remarked.

They vowed that until and unless revision of unfavorable policies of NLC in Torkham their agitation would continue.

The agitators gave 15 days deadline to NLC to vacate the land, granted by the Khuga Khel tribe for the first phase after the expiry of its lease, or they would have no other option but get its possession by force.