LANDI KOTAL: Christians and Sikh representatives have been granted the status of tribal elders in the Khyber Agency.
According to details, the political administration of the Khyber Agency has granted four representatives of Christian and Sikh communities the status of ‘Lungi holder’ (tribal elder) in FATA. It has been for the first time in the history of FATA that the minorities have been granted the status of tribal elders. As a result of this move, Christian and Sikhs are now formally integrated into the tribal society.Two Christians who are granted the status of “tribal elder” include the All Fata Minorities Social Welfare Organisation chairman Wilson Wazir and Jamrud church caretaker James Michael. Moreover the other two Sikh representatives are Gurmeet Singh and Narenjan Singh. Tribal elders or “Lungi Holders” are referred as ‘Speen Rubay” in local language.The Christian tribal elder Wilson Wazir asserts this decision as historic, while he also expressed confidence that the move would end unfairness between local residents and the Christian community living in tribal areas. He went on to tell the media that the four new Tribal elders are entitled to all the official benefits along with having authority to stamp their attestation on all the national documents, including those for computerised national identity card, domicile certificate and passport according to the rules of political administration.He further told that prior to this Christians faced hardships as when they approached the local tribal elders for attestation of national documents. “In most such cases the local elders would either refuse attestation of our documents or would ask for gratification to do the needful,” he clarified. Wazir remains hopeful that the new tribal elders would assist the acquisition of such documents without any obstruction. He also added that the federal government has decided to issue tribal domicile certificates to all the minority communities in FATA whereas the FATA Secretariat is formulating a new format for the minorities.