The situation in Pakistan continues getting more complex as gunmen are now trying to get school children involved in adult disputes. A group of militants took up to 250 Pakistani school children hostage in a northwestern town, but freed them within twenty-four hours. It appears tribal elders interceded in order to remove children from the line of fire that now exists between militants and the government of Pakistan. The militants surrendered to the jirga– a council of elders. Earlier accounts by the government said militants were responsible but it is now unclear as to the intent of the men who took hostages. The entire episode began when police were chasing militants who had kidnapped a government official.
Fortunately, this episode does not replicate the terrible deaths of Russian children who were caught in the cross fire between government and rebel forces. It appears the power of the jirga has not been completely utilized since tribal elders do have influence over what happens in their country.