Pakistan inks another peace deal with militant tribal group (Lead)

March 9th, 2009 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) Three weeks after agreeing to a controversial peace deal in its restive northwest, the Pakistani government Monday inked another deal with a key militant tribe in the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
“The government of Pakistan and the Mamond tribe have struck a peace deal (in Peshawar),” Geo TV said.

The Manmond are one of the three main tribes in FATA’s Bajaur Agency along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border who have aligned with the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and against whom the Pakistani Army has been conducting sustained operations in coordination with the Pakistan Air Force to stamp out militancy.

The US forces in Afghanistan have also been staging repeated predator raids against the militants in the area.

This is the second peace deal with militants after the Feb 16 pact between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, or the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws, of radical cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad.

Under this, Shariat laws will be imposed in seven districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), including the Swat Valley, in return for which the Taliban that control the area would lay down their arms.

President Asif Ali Zardari has warned that he would validate the accord only after peace returned to the region.

The US and other Western governments have roundly criticised the accord, saying it amounted to bowing before the Taliban.

Former Pakistani president Musharraf does not agree with this.

“I think we can work with some elements of the Taliban. If it brings peace, why not give it a chance?” he retorted at a press conference in Karachi Monday on return from New Delhi, where he attended an international conclave.

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