Pakistan close to pact with warring Waziristan tribe

April 23rd, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, April 23 (IANS) The Pakistan government is close to a pact with South Waziristan’s Mehsud tribe to end militancy, exchange prisoners and gradually withdraw the military so as to restore peace in the volatile region. The 15-point draft agreement “has been thoroughly discussed and approved at the senior political leadership level in Islamabad and also enjoys the backing of the military establishment”, Dawn reported Wednesday.

The interlocutors for the peace talks were given the final go-ahead following a meeting of the leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Awami National Party (ANP) in Islamabad April 15.

ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan briefed the coalition partners on the subject and obtained their consent for the peace accord, Dawn quoted its sources as saying.

“The matter has been thoroughly debated within the military establishment as well as the political leadership and a broad consensus has been achieved,” the sources added.

One source said that Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, during a briefing April 2, clearly told Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and the heads of the ruling coalition that the military would take its cue from the political leadership on matters relating to internal security, including peace talks with militants and any military action.

According to the draft document, the peace agreement would be signed between the political administrator of South Waziristan, as the representative of the Pakistani government, and the elders representing the Mehsud tribe.

The draft agreement requires the Mehsud tribe to give an undertaking that government and security forces would not be targeted; their equipment and property would not be damaged; no military or government functionary would be kidnapped; all roads would be opened to the Frontier Corps in accordance with old procedures and there would be no restriction on their movement.

The Mehsud tribe would also be required to ensure that no terrorist activity takes place anywhere in Pakistan including in the tribal regions nor would they assist anyone in such an activity.

The Mehsuds would not use their territory for any anti-state activity nor would they allow anyone to do so, the draft agreement says.

The Mehsuds would also furnish an undertaking not to create a parallel administration; to respect the writ of the state; to contact the political administration for resolving their problems while the administration would decide matters in accordance with local ‘riwaj’ (customs) and the Frontier Crimes Regulation with the cooperation of local elders.

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