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Waziristan accord signed

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MIRAMSHAH, Sept 5: Militants in the restive North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday signed a peace agreement, pledging to halt cross-border movement and stop attacks on government installations and security forces.

“There shall be no cross-border movement for militant activity in neighbouring Afghanistan,” read a clause of the three-page agreement signed by seven militants on behalf of the Taliban shura (advisory council).

On its part, the government pledged not to undertake any ground or air operation against the militants and resolve the issue through local customs and traditions.

Political Agent of North Waziristan Dr Fakhr-i-Alam signed the agreement on behalf of the government. Maj-Gen Azhar Ali Shah oversaw the signing and later embraced the militants.

The peace deal brokered by a grand tribal jirga will come into force with the relocation of the army from the checkpoints in the region. Tribal Khasadar force and Levy will take over the checkposts.

Sources said that army had almost vacated all the checkpoints in the tribal region and moved to camps and Touchi Scout Fort in Miramshah.

The ceremony held in the football ground of the Government Degree College was witnessed by about 500 elders, parliamentarians and officials.

The agreement contains 16 clauses and four sub-clauses.

Militant commanders Maulana Gul Behadur and Maulvi Sadiq Noor did not attend the ceremony and their representatives signed the document on their behalf.

Maulvi Nek Zaman MNA read out the agreement after which the militants and military officials hugged each other and exchanged greetings. The venue was heavily guarded by armed Taliban and journalists were not allowed to shoot or film the event.

The agreement envisages that the foreigners living in North Waziristan will have to leave Pakistan but those who cannot leave will be allowed to live peacefully, respecting the law of the land and the agreement.

Both parties (army and militants) will return each other’s weapons, vehicles and communication tools seized during various operations.

It said that tribal elders, Mujahideen and Utmanzai tribe would ensure that no-one attacked law-enforcement personnel and state property.

“There will be no target killing and no parallel administration in the agency. The writ of the state will prevail in the area”, the agreement said.

It said that militants would not enter the settled districts adjacent to the agency.

The agreement said that the government would release prisoners held in military action and would not arrest them again.

Tribesmen’s ‘incentives’ would be restored, it said and bound the administration to resolve disputes in accordance with the local customs and traditions.

It said the government would pay compensation for the loss of life and property of innocent tribesmen during the recent operation. There will be no ban on display of arms. However, tribesmen will not carry heavy weapons.

A 10-member committee — comprising elders, members of political administration and Ulema — has been formed to monitor progress on the agreement and to ensure its implementation.

Governor Ali Mohammad Aurakzai has welcomed the peace agreement as ‘unprecedented in tribal history’ and credited the inter-tribal jirga with amicably resolving a complicated issue within a few weeks.

A spokesman of the militants said that the jirga had assured them that the government would pay them Rs10 million if it failed to hand over the weapons and vehicles it had seized during various military operations.

Abdullah Farhad, in a call from an undisclosed location, said that there were no foreign militants in the region and if there were any, the government should have provided evidence of their presence.

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