PESHAWAR: A representative jirga (tribal elders) of North Waziristan Agency on Friday agreed to oust foreign fighters from the area in 15 days as they assured Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan that all efforts would be made for restoration of peace in the agency.
The North Waziristan Taliban, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur had given a June 10 deadline to the government to avert a likely military offensive in the area following their Shura meeting last month. They had vowed to take up arms against the government in case a major operation was launched as it accused the authorities of breaking a non-aggression treaty with their tribes.
Rumours about military operation have created uncertainty in North Waziristan with several Afghan families have already gone back to Afghanistan.
Today’s jirga was led by Utmanzai Wazir and Dawar tribal elders – the two main tribes that inhabit North Waziristan – and Haji Sher Mohammad Khan, a descendent of the famous anti-colonial rebel Faqir of Ipi.
The jirga demanded of the government to stop the likely military operation in North Waziristan as they said it was not a solution and the crisis should be settled through dialogue.
Jirga member Maulana Muhammad Din Haqqani said that the tribal elders have assured the KP governor that they will expel foreign jihadists from their soil within 15 days.
He said that the jirga would also take up the issue of infighting with the different Taliban groups in North Waziristan and try to pacify the situation.
The jirga members also claimed that the governor has assured them that there would be no military operation in the North Waziristan.
Pir Muhammad Aqil Shah, another jirga member and also a contestant for the NA-40 seat, said that the meeting was successful as more than 70 members participated. He claimed that the jirga has the backing of Taliban Shura in North Waziristan Agency and it would convey the message of peace to the tribesmen and the Taliban Shura.
Earlier, the tribal elders met with Corps Commander Peshawar Lt General Khalid Rabbani and discussed with him the prevailing situation in the wake of the likely military operation in North Waziristan.
An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said that Lt Gen Rabbani, during his meeting with the jirga at the corps headquarters, urged the tribal elders to play their role in eradicating the Taliban militancy from North Waziristan.
He was quoted as saying, “With the support of tribal brethren, all terrorists from North Waziristan agency will also be cleansed as they have disrupted the law and order in the entire region.”
“We will stand by the tribes to restore writ of the state and rehabilitate and rebuild the agency like in Swat and rest of FATA on the model as done in areas cleared earlier.”
The jirga pledged full support to Pakistan Army and assured that they will stand shoulder to shoulder with the security forces, said the statement.
Meanwhile, according to a handout issued from the Governor House, Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan urged the tribal elders to play their role for restoration of peace in the region. He said that restoration of peace and normalcy in the region is the government’s top priority and all efforts would be made for it.
Governor Khan said that the government wished to rehabilitate about 1.6 million FATA affectees and it could only be done if peace was restored and the tribesmen of North Waziristan will have to play their role again as they had done in the past to guard the country’s borders.
Sardar Mehtab also heard suggestions given by the jirga with patience and assured them to take all possible steps to address their grievances.