KHAR, March 17: Elders of the Mamond tribe in the Bajaur Agency have announced that they will set fire to the houses of tribesmen found giving shelter to foreign militants and impose a fine of Rs1.5 million on them.

The tribesmen would deal with foreign militants and their local collaborators in accordance with tribal customs and traditions, it was announced here at a grand jirga on Saturday. About 300 elders and ulema of the tribe, including MNA Maulana Mohammad Sadiq and Political Agent Shakeel Qadir Khan, attended the jirga.

Mr Qadir told Dawn that the elders had given him firm assurance to play their role in the restoration of peace in the region where several acts of sabotage had occurred during the past months.

“The administration does not have any formal agreement with the Mamond tribe. They have only reassured us of their commitments to maintain peace in the area,” he said.

Officials said elders of the tribe had been mediating for some time to broker a peace deal between the government and local militants.

An official said that the jirga was part of a broader agreement likely to be reached between the government and Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who allegedly leads a corps of foreign and local militants in the agency.

The official said negotiations were also under way with the elders of Utmankhel, the second largest tribe of the agency.

The political authorities and Maulvi Faqir were about to strike a peace deal last year but an air strike on a seminary near Khar in October last year derailed the process.

Officials said Mamond elders and the political authorities had reached a verbal understanding to eliminate foreign militants and their local supporters.

Mamond chief Malik Shahjehan vowed on behalf of the elders that the tribesmen would take action against foreigners and their local supporters in accordance with the local customs and traditions.

“If any tribesman belonging to Mamond tribe is found providing shelter to foreigners or involved in anti-state activities, he will pay a fine of Rs1.5 million and his house will be burnt,” Malik Shahjehan said.

However, he denied presence of foreign militants in the agency and said the government should also honour agreements reached with the tribesmen.

The political agent said that if the tribesmen fulfilled their responsibilities and maintained peace in the area, the authorities would not conduct raids or launch a crackdown against them. “We will act on intelligence reports only with the support of the tribesmen,” he said.