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Tribesmen allow army to enter Shawal

June 06, 2002

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PESHAWAR, June 5: The tribesmen of North Waziristan Agency have said that army troops were allowed to enter Shawal area bordering with Afghanistan three days back to help Islamabad ensure vigilance on the country’s Western borders in its efforts to check possible infiltration of fleeing Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects from the war-torn country.

Speaking at a joint press conference here at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday some 40 elders and maliks of Wazir and Mahsood tribes from North Waziristan Agency assured their support to Islamabad to wipe out foreign infiltrators from the tribal area.

“We have allowed the army unconditionally to search in Shawal area”, Malik Mamoor Khan, a representative of the tribesmen told the press conference, adding that some 600 regular troops and personnel of Tochi Scouts had entered this inaccessible area of the North Waziristan Agency some three days back. However, he said,  the tribesmen did not demand any  compensation  or incentives, but the government should do something for the development of this less developed area.

A couple of days back Islamabad announced that keeping in view the tension on its eastern borders and along the Line of Control it might withdraw its troops from the western border.

Malik Mamoor said that tribesmen of the North Waziristan Agency were fully prepared to defend the country’s eastern borders. He said that a tribal jirga would be held in Miranshah to organize a big tribal force. He maintained that tribesmen were ready to fight along with Pakistan army to fight against Indian forces in case of aggression. “We will fight voluntarily against India”, the 50-year old Malik said, adding that tribesmen did not need arms and ammunition or any other assistance.

He said that a representative jirga was likely to meet the Corps Commander Peshawar on June 7 to seek his permission to move towards Kashmir. He was optimistic that over 15,000 tribal armed force, equipped with sophisticated arms would be prepared for a possible war against Indian army.