London: The Pakistan Army’s claims of killing nearly 23 militants earlier this week in Dir in Upper Dir District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province has once again raised the issue of extrajudicial killings, with family members of the suspected extremists claiming that they were in custody at the time of their death.
While the Army claims that the men were killed during an ambush, locals said that most of the suspects were handed over to the security forces by village councils.
“Most of them were school boys. Some got inspired by the Taliban and joined their training camps in Swat but were weaned away by their parents before they could get into real fighting,” The BBC quoted Saeed Gul, a local elder and former parliamentarian, as saying.
“Others were either close relatives of known militants, or had given shelter to militants at some time out of fear or favour,” he added.
The Pakistan Army has been often accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings of Taliban suspects to avenge militant attacks on military targets, but it has rejected all such allegations.
“The clashes took place in Kalpani and Upper Maidan areas,” said Brigadier Nadim Mirza, the top commander of operations in Maidan.