KHAR, March 30: Local Taliban militants have asked the new government to end relations with the US and enforce Sharia in tribal areas and have warned tribal elders against meeting US officials.

The warning was issued at a public meeting held in Enayet Kalli near Khar on Sunday which was attended by thousands of tribesmen chanting anti-US slogans.

Addressing the meeting, local Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, Maulvi Sher Behadur and Dr Muhammad Ismail welcomed the coalition government’s move to repeal the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

“We hail Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s announcement to repeal the FCR,” Maulvi Faqir said, adding that the government should implement Sharia in the tribal region and sever diplomatic relations with United States.

“Taliban are patriotic people and do not want to fight with their own government. We have waged jihad against America. But the country will suffer as long as Pakistan remains an ally of the US in the ongoing war on terror in the region,” Maulvi Faqir said.

The new government, he said, should not repeat mistakes of the previous government and must change its internal and external policies. He said the militants were ready for talks with the government.

The meeting urged the government to remove all new checkpoints from the area and lift a ban on non-customs paid vehicles.

The Taliban leaders warned elders of ‘consequences’, if they met US officials.

A committee comprising local clerics was set up to resolve disputes among tribesmen. The committee was authorised to prepare a mechanism for eliminating un-Islamic practices like interest on loans, robbery and kidnapping for ransom from the region.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Maulvi Umar told Dawn by phone that the government should formally enforce Sharia in the tribal belt.

Updated Mar 31, 2008 12:00am

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