PESHAWAR, March 23: NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai has said about 130 foreigners have been killed in the four-day gunbattle between local tribesmen and foreign militants in the restive South Waziristan Agency.

Talking to journalists after conferring presidential awards on nine people at a ceremony held at the Governor House here on Friday, Mr Aurakzai said tribesmen had also captured 62 foreigners. About 30 local people had been killed in the clashes in the Azam Warsak area of South Waziristan since Monday.

Asked if the government would seek custody of the captured foreigners from tribesmen, Mr Aurakzai said: “I don’t think so because the situation is very critical.”He said that according to government estimates the number of foreigners in South Waziristan was about 200, but it seemed that 400 to 500 foreigners were still living in the area.

He said there were some indications that Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader Tahir Yaldeshiv was in the volatile region. He said tribesmen had now realised that the presence of foreigners was a major obstacle to their progress. “That’s why they (tribesmen) took up arms against them,” he added.

Earlier, Governor Aurakzai conferred presidential awards on nine people on the occasion of Pakistan Day. Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani also attended the ceremony.

Those who received the awards were Dr Nasim Ashraf, Mohammad Ghalib Nishter, Javed Saifullah Khan, Ghulam Mohammad Qasir, Prof Raj Wali Khan Khattak, Ghulam Nabi, Aleem Roz Khan, Khawaja Khan and Mohammad Gulab Khan.

TANK: A tribal jirga on Friday failed to broker a peace deal between combatant foreigners and local militants to end the four-day fighting in the restive South Waziristan Agency, well-placed sources said.

The sources said talks collapsed when local militant commander Maulvi Nazir linked permanent truce with the surrender of foreign militants residing in the region bordering Afghanistan.

They said Maulvi Nazir had tabled two conditions for a ceasefire – surrender of the foreigners and a guarantee by them that in future they would demonstrate good conduct. But foreigners and their local collaborators turned down both the conditions, they said.

MNA from tribal area Maulvi Mirajuddin, influential tribal cleric Maulna Ainullah, Bakhta Jan, militant commander Baitullah Mehsud and Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the prominent Afghan commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, were negotiating to broker a ceasefire.

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