MIRAMSHAH: A local Taliban Shura and tribal Maliks have decided that tribal people would avail the option to take refuge in Afghanistan if the government launches a military operation in North Waziristan.
In the wake of widespread speculations about an army action against militants in the area, about 1,500 Maliks, clerics and members of the Taliban Shura held a meeting at Islami Madressah Nezamia in Edek village, near Miramshah, on Saturday.
The chief of a peace committee, Maulvi Gul Ramzan, Mufti Saddiqullah, Taliban commanders and elders of Utmanzai tribe addressed the Jirga and discussed various options in case security forces launched an offensive.
The Jirga declared that Utmanzai tribe was abiding by a peace agreement signed with the government in February 2007 and would continue efforts for maintaining peace in the area, but the government and security forces were violating the deal.
“The peace agreement between the tribes and government is still intact. In case government starts a military operation the people of North Waziristan will migrate to Afghanistan,” it decided.
“The Afghan government is much better than the Pakistani government because at least women and children are not killed in drone strikes in the neighbouring country,” the speakers said, criticising the government for not stopping American missile attacks.
The Jirga was informed that a committee had been set up to discuss the situation with the administration and security officers.
The committee would ask the government that on what basis an operation would be launched.
The speakers claimed that the law and order situation in North Waziristan was far better than other parts of the country. They urged people not to leave North Waziristan.
They complained that security personnel were treated passengers very roughly at check posts.
Meanwhile, the army and administration have been assuring tribal people that the government has no plan to launch an operation. Officials have been making announcements on local radio channels since Friday that they have no information about an operation.
“Troops have been deployed along the border with Afghanistan to stop intrusion,” they said and urged people not to shift families from Waziristan.
The administration also announced that there would be a curfew in the area from 5am to 6pm on Sunday to provide protection to a security forces’ convoy. Such curfews are imposed every Sunday.
Our Correspondent adds from Bannu: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) staged a rally against US drone strikes in Waziristan and resumption of supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan.
The party’s leaders alleged at the rally held at a sports complex that the government was launching an operation in Waziristan to please America and other western countries. They warned that JUI-F’s workers would resist such an operation.