MINGORA / TIMERGARA, Feb 15: The Taliban of Swat announced a 10-day ceasefire on Sunday after the government and the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) reached an understanding about promulgating Sharia, termed ‘Nizam-i-Adl Regulation’, in Malakand region.
“Taliban have declared a unilateral ceasefire for 10 days as a goodwill gesture. Our fighters will not attack security personnel and government installations,” Taliban spokesman Muslim
However, he said, the militants would hold their positions and defend themselves if attacked.
He welcomed the move to enforce Sharia regulations in Malakand, but added: “We will see how sincere the government is in their enforcement.”
When asked about the possibility of the militants disarming themselves, the spokesman said everything would depend on the line of action of the authorities in Swat.
According to sources, a five-point draft accord was signed after negotiations between government and TNSM teams held at the Timergara rest-house where the tehrik had set up a ‘protest camp’ on Oct 9 last year.
A formal announcement about enforcement of the regulations is likely to be made by NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan in Peshawar on Monday at a meeting to be attended by provincial ministers, a delegation of the TNSM and leaders of political parties.
At Sunday’s talks, the provincial government team was led by Information Minister Mian Iftikhar, Livestock Minister Haji Hidayatullah, Awami National Party spokesman Zahid Khan and Hazara Commissioner Javed Khan, while the TNSM was represented by Maulana Sufi Mohammad, spokesman Amir Izzat, Maulana Mohammad Alam and Badshah Sardar.
NWFP government spokesman Mian Iftikhar told newsmen in Timergara that talks held with the TNSM leadership were fruitful and a final announcement about the outcome would be made by the chief minister.
Sufi Mohammad did not answer journalists’ questions about progress made in the talks.
However, TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat and Sufi Mohammad’s son Rizwanullah said that “both sides have signed the accord” and an announcement regarding the enforcement of Nizam-i-Adl Regulation in Malakand division would be made by the chief minister after a meeting with a jirga of the tehrik in Peshawar on Monday.
“The NWFP government has accepted TNSM’s demand for enforcement of Shariat-i-Muhammadi in accordance with Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qias,” they said.
Sources said the TNSM would wind up its ‘protest camp’ after the announcement by the chief minister.“Sufi Mohammad and all district chiefs and general secretaries of the tehrik will go to Swat to persuade Taliban to disarm and restore peace in the valley,” they said.
Two rounds of talks were held after the government delegation reached Timergra by helicopter.
People attending the camp distributed sweats and exchanged greetings on phone with activists of the TNSM.
Amir Izzat told Dawn after a meeting of the TNSM shura that a 28-member delegation of the tehrik led by its deputy chief Maulana Mohammad Alam would meet the chief minister. He said the delegation would include Maulana Dost Muhammad, Maulana Samiullah and Maulana Salar.
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