Violence surges in Pakistan's tribal belt | Daily News

Violence surges in Pakistan's tribal belt

Seventeen-year-old Israr was fast asleep when his phone rang.

It was 2am and the teenager was exhausted. He'd been working all day as a guard. On the other end of the line was his brother, who told Israr that men had barged into their family house, dragged their father outside, and shot him dead.

"He asked me to rush back home," recalled Israr, whose name has been changed for his safety.

I met Israr in Orakzai, one of seven districts in Pakistan's tribal belt. Like the provinces just over the border in Afghanistan, Orakzai is home to a predominantly Pashtun population.

Three days after Israr's father was killed, a branch of the extremist organisation Islamic State known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K), claimed responsibility for the murder.

IS-K accused Israr's father of being a Pakistani military informant, a claim rejected by Israr.

"My father just had a shop in Orakzai. He would help his tribe, especially those people who were returning to the area after being displaced due to war," Israr said. "He had no enemies. He was one of the elders of the area."

In Afghanistan, the Taliban and IS-K are fighting a bloody war for pre-eminence.

Here in Pakistan, the picture is more murky. The attack on Israr's father wasn't a one-off. On the same day, another man was shot dead in Orakzai, also for allegedly being an "informant" for the Pakistani military. IS-K also claimed responsibility for that attack. (BBC)

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