Such is the situation that KP governor Ghulam Ali expressed concern over the region’s security in a TV interview on Saturday, saying it was “unfavourable for political parties to hold rallies in the province” ahead of the general elections slated for February 8.He also mentioned restive Balochistan in the southwest. “A similar situation persists (there).”
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — the Pakistani Taliban’s formal appellation — recently issued directives to contractors affiliated with government’s water, power and oil departments in North Waziristan informing them about the establishment of a “ministry of economic affairs” by the group. The statement directed contractors to consult the new ministry and reach an understanding on projects within five days, failing which it warned of armed action. The new ministry, according to TTP, has been established to raise funds for its “pious jihad” and to improve the administrative setup in the areas under its influence.
Sources claim the TTP has established covert departments in every tribal district along the Afghan border as well as KP’s southern districts of Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu. These clandestine units not only blackmail businessmen and wealthy individuals, but also deal with resolution of disputes among locals. Given the perceived shortcomings of both the legal system and the local government, individuals increasingly turn to the TTP’s “justice ministry” to address their grievances.