Sixteen individuals have lost their lives following a clash between two tribes in the northwest region of Pakistan, with some sustaining injuries. The commotion, which lasted for hours, was caused by a feud regarding which tribe owned a certain coal mine. Coal mines in the country employ tens of thousands of workers. Officials state that this conflict is part of an old rivalry over the mine between the pair of tribes.
Latest figures show that Pakistan produces roughly 4.5 million tons of coal annually. Most of its coal mines are located in the north as well as in the south, particularly the Baluchistan province.
The mine in question is located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the Darra Adam Khel area. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and is located in Kohat district, is home to a huge coal reserve. The Darra Adam Khel area makes up part of a semiautonomous region that was combined with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a few years back by the federal government.
Zaid Khan, a local police officer, confirmed that the tribes involved were the Akhorwal and Sunny Khel tribes, who were armed with assault rifles and handguns. In an interview with Al Jazeera earlier last week, Khan stated that at least 11 individuals from the Sunny Khel tribe died during the skirmish, with five Akhorwal tribe members being buried the previous day. He added that the tribes involved had agreed to a ceasefire and a tribal council meeting, a jirga, to help resolve the issue.
To hold a jirga, a group of elders that belong to different tribes will convene and solve any intra-tribal conflicts and rivalries that may have risen. This conflict resolution method is often used in the northwestern areas of Pakistan, which is dominated by the Pashtun population.
Khan also revealed that this was not the first violent clash between the two tribes, noting that multiple jirgas had been held in the past to resolve the issue but it kept rearing its head. The officer then highlighted that, as a result, many had died in these skirmishes. In addition, he revealed that members of the Sunny Khel tribe had been protesting on a road in the area, demanding that the culprits involved be arrested.
Khan gave an official statement on this, noting that local law enforcement officials and the local administration were arbitrating between the tribes and they were hopeful a decision would soon be reached.
This tribal clash over the ownership of a coal mine goes to show how important this fossil fuel is in different parts of the world. The usefulness of this fuel explains why companies such as Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU) are still thriving despite many countries making efforts to shift away from coal as an energy source.
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