BANNU: Christians and Hindus from North Waziristan reveal that Taliban treated them with “tolerance.”
Christians and Hindus who have been displaced from their homes in North Waziristan as a result of the army operation carried out against the insurgents in the area have testified that Taliban bared with them well and showed patience to them. They expressed satisfaction with their life in the tribal area heavily under the influence of the insurgents saying: Taliban treated them with relative tolerance, contrary to the militants’ brutal reputation.
Like all others there are about 2,000 IDPs belonging to religious minorities who have been moved out of the North Waziristan tribal district to a close by town of Bannu, where they have been welcomed and facilitated by local Christian community. However, in the face of their stern demand for an Islamic state and their blatant claims of being responsible for various attacks on minorities, several Christians and Hindus from North Waziristan told that: they had not been singled out for mistreatment by Taliban- an ‘Unexpected’ sympathy. Conversely many locals accuse Taliban of extorting shopkeepers and kidnapping them for ransom.
The history of Christianity in North Waziristan dates back since the British rule in the sub-continent, when British Army officers stationed in tribal areas brought many Christians in the area as their servants. The descendants of these have continued to inhabit the tribal belt since then and have grown into small community.
A Christian pharmacist from North Waziristan Iqbal Masih, told a national news agency that:
Nobody would believe us that the Taliban expressed concern over the bombing in the Peshawar church and sent us a message of sympathy and condolence.
Moreover, 38-year- old Iqbal Masih went on to reveal that: We had received respect and good treatment as the Taliban considered us guests. Iqbal Masih is determined to move back to his home in North Waziristan saying:
We are from Waziristan. We are living there for three generations. I hope for peace and stability soon though the government should provide compensation to the affected families.