THINGS are bad in the Kurram Agency. Eleven hostages were killed by their abductors, their bodies dumped on a roadside in the Faqir Khusa and Aroli areas. The victims belonged to the Toori tribe and were abducted several days earlier in an ambush when they were heading off to Parachinar. From the corpses, it was evident that these were tortured by their kidnappers before being killed. Were this any other part of Pakistan, the mere fact that the victims belonged to one sect would have raised fears of reprisals against the other sect. But in the area fears would have been raised even if the sectarian variable were not in the equation; tribal affinities would drive most of the ensuing violence. Still, the sectarian issue cannot be ignored. The Kurram Agency has fallen prey to vicious sectarianism of late, specially after the entry of non-tribal elements in the whole mix. The ancient tribal system could resolve disputes; tribes from the different sects have even known to unite against others in certain conflicts. But not anymore. Outsiders have upset the scheme of things in the region and mechanisms to stop such conflicts are fast disappearing. Though there is much trouble in most of FATA, there is also violence between the religious militants themselves, a sectarian clash in the Kurram and a sub-sectarian conflict in the Khyber agency. It is the former that might spill over to another agency. Speaking of violence spilling over, though the situation in the settled districts of the NWFP is far from ideal, it has been observed that the ANP government's management of the law and order situation there has yielded many positive results. And the party's leadership has complained on a number of occasions that it is being kept out of the loop as far as FATA is concerned. It would be a good idea to take them on board, if not let them lead the federal government's efforts to find a solution.