ISLAMABAD, Aug 27: Elected representatives and tribal elders from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have urged the government not carry out a military operation in North Waziristan, saying such a decision instead of resolving the issue would have serious consequences for the country.

Talking to Dawn on Monday, they suggested talks were the only way to solve the problem.In reply to a question, they said representatives of the area had not been taken into confidence about it if the authorities concerned had planned a military operation in North Waziristan Agency.

They pointed out that any such action would be in contravention of the peace agreement they had signed with the government.

“Most of the people of North Waziristan have families divided on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border. Many tribesmen have lands and houses on the Afghan side of the border. We have free movement here and there. Therefore, the area people have decided that they will cross over to Afghanistan instead of taking refuge in Pakistan in case the military starts the operation,” said Kamran Khan, the MNA from North Waziristan. “We will talk to the Karzai government and they will welcome us.”

He said about 700,000 people lived in North Waziristan and they would be affected by the operation.

The MNA said it was impossible to seal the border because people living on both sides belonged to the same tribes and shared properties on both sides. “Going from one side of the border to the other is a daily routine for us,” he said.Elders of the area said they abided by the peace agreement they had signed with the government a few years ago. But in case the government launched the operation then they would be forced to migrate to Afghanistan.

“If the Pakistani government acts on the wishes of America and starts operation against us we will never like to stay here and go to the other side of the border where we have lands and family members. No one can stop us from going to our relatives and houses on the Afghan side of the border,” said Malik Nasrullah Khan.

He denied there were foreign elements or Taliban living in the area.

“It is American propaganda,” he said.

He said America wanted to disturb peace in the region. “The US is our enemy and it wants us divided and killed,” the malik said.

Malik Qadar Khan said a number of jirgas attended by thousands of people had rejected the military operation, adding the government must consult representatives of the area before launching an army action there.

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