TANK, Jan 21: As troops continued their attacks on militants’ positions in South Waziristan Agency, chief of the so-called Pakistan Tehreek-i-Taliban Baitullah Mehsud warned of serious repercussions if the military operations were not stopped.

A man, who identified himself on telephone as Maulvi Umar and claimed to be Baitullah’s spokesman, said: “The government wants to enter the Mehsud area by force. But it must take into account the consequences of such a harsh action.”

He accused security forces of ‘killing innocent people’ and ‘damaging their homes’ and warned that the government would have to “pay a heavy price”.

Sources said that security forces shelled the house of militant leader Asmatullah Shaheen in Khech Kali in the Frontier Region of Jandola on Monday, injuring a woman and a child. Local people said that the building had been hit by four artillery shells.

Several houses were damaged in attacks in Makin, Birwand, Chegmalai and Wala in the Mehsud area, damaging several houses. In Makin, a shell hit a house, killing a man and wounding another.

Meanwhile, a jirga of the Mehsud tribe has urged the government to free seven supporters of Baitullah and halt the military operation. The jirga was held in Tank on Monday.

The jirga criticised the damage caused by the shelling and urged the government to initiate efforts for a ceasefire. The jirga also called for lifting a ban on supply of food to the Mehsud area.


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