Time to negotiate with Pak tribal leaders is long past: Paper

November 14th, 2007 - 2:17 am ICT by admin  
The Daily Times said in its editorial that those politicians, journalists and retired diplomats who recommend endless “negotiation” in the Tribal Areas have to take note of the stage that the war has entered.

“A parallel government is already functioning in South Waziristan with effective outreach into such settled areas of the NWFP as DI Khan, Kohat-Bannu and the provincially administered tribal area of Swat, where the police is either under pressure or has simply run away from the fight,” said the editorial.

The paper said that a number of factors would have to be taken into consideration before negotiating with Baitullah Mehsud, the ruler of South Waziristan and an indirect “controller” of the NWFP.

“The territory they think they can repossess through talks is already ‘lost’ and these talks will have to face tough Al Qaeda conditionalities,” it said.

Pointing out that getting Musharraf and former premiers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto together would be impossible to unfold negotiations, the paper questioned if the terms of negotiation be acceptable to Islamabad in case Musharraf and Benazir come together.

“Since Islamabad will be negotiating from a position of weakness, it will have to accept an arrangement which leaves the territory under Al Qaeda control intact while allowing Al Qaeda “reforms” in Kohat-Bannu and Swat-Bajaur. This will be tantamount to creating in Pakistan a safe haven that Al Qaeda could not build in Sudan and Somalia,” it said.

The daily claimed that days after President General Pervez Musharraf said on TV that the air force was not used in the area, it was actually used. The army has claimed 200 militants killed in two days, 50 of them foreigners of Uzbek, Tajik, Afghan and Arab origins. Also killed were 50 civilians as “collateral damage”. (ANI)

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