Pakistani could ink peace pact with Taliban

April 24th, 2008 - 11:56 am ICT by admin  

Islamabad, April 24 (IANS) The Pakistani government could be on the verge of signing a peace pact with the Taliban to end militant activities in its territory bordering Afghanistan. One indication of this came Wednesday with Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud issuing a pamphlet asking his cadres to stop violence in Waziristan, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and other areas.

The pamphlet, titled “Elan-e-Umoomi” (general announcement), said: “Directives are issued to all the workers of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan from Ameer Baitullah Mehsud that a strict ban has been imposed on provocative activities in Waziristan, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan for the sake of peace. Obeying this order is compulsory and its violators would be hanged upside down and punished publicly.”

Quoting a close aide to Mehsud, The News said Thursday that the pamphlet had been distributed “to discourage the activities being carried out by certain elements in the garb of the Taliban”.

“The aide said the Taliban tried their best to ensure peace and justice for the people. He said the Taliban supervised development works in the area and warned contractors to complete projects without any delay,” the newspaper added.

According to The News, secret negotiations were underway between the Taliban and government functionaries “and a formal peace agreement would be inked between the two sides very soon”.

Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar claimed that the Pakistani Army had begun withdrawing from the tribal areas and that Mehsud’s pamphlet had been issued in response to this.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Major General Athar Abbas, however, rejected this, saying no troops had been withdrawn from anywhere in Waziristan.

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