MIRAMSHAH: A militant group in North Waziristan asked local residents on Friday to move to safe locations close to the Afghan border to avoid being caught in crossfire in the event of a military operation in the area.

A pamphlet issued by the Shura Mujahideen Waziristan, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, alleged that the government had practically revoked an agreement with them without making any announcement to the effect, by attacking ‘innocent people’ and destroying property. “We continued to tolerate this repression but now it has exceeded limits,” the pamphlet alleged.

The group met in the wake of air strikes and ground search in Machis Camp near Miramshah bazaar and Mirali during which, according to the government, over 70 militants were killed.

Militants brace for military operation, accuse govt of revoking truce

Residents claim that more than 100 people have been killed, many of them civilians.

The pamphlet alleged that there was credible information that the government had decided to launch a military operation. “We can no longer brook repression on you,” it said, asking residents of Waziristan to shift to safe locations along with their families by June 10. “It would be difficult to move during the operation,” it said.

It urged the people not to go to relief camps set up by the government.

It said people should move to areas from where they could cross the border into Afghanistan.

The Shura asked local people to avoid contacts with military officers and institutions and visits to the authorities and threatened them with ‘punishment’ for violating the instruction.

It urged all militant groups not to send fighters to Afghanistan after June 10 and to divert all their resources to “one objective -- the defence of Waziristan”.

However, it left a window for reconciliation open, saying anyone who could work for peace and improving the situation by the stipulated date was free to do so.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2014