MIRAMSHAH, Oct 23: US drones struck a seminary of an Afghan national in North Waziristan early on Thursday, killing 10 people and wounding three others.
The attack came hours after parliament passed a unanimous resolution pledging to defend territorial integrity of the country.
Locals said that two spy drones buzzing overhead targeted seminary Sirajul Uloom in Dandi Derpakhel on the outskirts of Miramshah at about 2.30am. They said that three loud explosions were heard as planes were flying over the area.
Sources said that some outsiders were among the dead. Three wounded persons belonging to Punjab were taken to a government hospital in Miramshah in serious condition. They were identified as Sangeen, Bekhtullah and Rehmatullah.
The bodies were immediately shifted to South Waziristan by their comrades.
The seminary is owned by Afghan national Maulvi Pir Mohammad who is stated to be a close associate of Taliban Commander in Afghanistan Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani.
“Pir Mohammad was one of the trustworthy commanders of Mr Haqqani during the Afghan conflict,” said a source.
Mr Haqqani’s residence and his seminary were targeted by unmanned US planes in the same locality on Sept 8 this year, killing 23 people including his family members and some Arab nationals.
The increasing attacks by US drones have caused anger and frustration among tribesmen. The area elders have threatened to scrap a peace deal with the government if the US attacks were not stopped.
Elders from North Waziristan met NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani in Peshawar on Thursday asking him that the government should take pre-emptive measures to halt drone attacks in the area.
“The jirga members were disappointed over intermittent drone attacks, resulting in the killings of innocent tribesmen and demanded protection from such attacks,” said a handout, quoting an unnamed tribal elder.
Governor Owais assured jirga of the Utmankhel tribe that the government had already realised concern expressed by the elders and it was fully aware of miseries and difficulties of people, and it was taking all necessary steps to rid them off these attacks.
“No doubt, it is a problem of grave concern and the government will address it,” he assured the jirga and reiterated government’s firm stance to protect the country’s frontiers at all costs.
“We must get united and strengthen our rank and file so that we face the challenges with the strength of our unity,” Mr Owais remarked.
“Our enemies are trying to destabilise Pakistan by creating rift in our rank and file and weaken it economically,” he said, adding that these elements would never succeed in their nefarious designs.
The governor was confident that the tribesmen would also take cognizance of the situation and would not only identify such elements but also flush them out. He said that certain misguided elements in Fata were playing in the hands of enemies and we would have to persuade them to come to the right path.
Mr Ghani reminded that right from the beginning Pakistan was stressing for a negotiated settlement of the issues instead of using force.
“Now the entire world is talking of negotiations and is admitting that clue to the solution of Afghan imbroglio can be achieved through negotiations. This is a big success of Pakistan’s principled stance in this regard,” the governor said.
He was hopeful that light could be seen at the end of the tunnel and chances of stability in the region were bright. He also hinted at the meeting of Mini Pak-Afghan jirga to be held in Islamabad next week, saying: “We are hopeful of its success.”
However, he said that Afghan Taliban and other opponent forces in Afghanistan were a reality and they have to be taken on board in any efforts for future political dispensation in Afghanistan.