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Pakistan government signs peace pact with Waziristan

Islamabad, Sep 6 (IANS) The Pakistan government has signed a peace pact with tribals of its Northern Waziristan area under which the Utmanzai tribe has promised not to cross the Afghanistan border or attack Pakistan's security forces.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | 2:25:34 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Islamabad, Sep 6 (IANS) The Pakistan government has signed a peace pact with tribals of its Northern Waziristan area under which the Utmanzai tribe has promised not to cross the Afghanistan border or attack Pakistan's security forces.

The pact was signed Tuesday by a Pakistan government representative and tribal leaders at Miranshah, capital of the Northern Waziristan Agency that forms part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Known to be sympathetic to the Taliban and hosting foreign mercenaries of Al Qaida, the tribals have promised not to facilitate unauthorised cross-border movement, The News International reported.

The issue has considerably strained Pakistan-Afghan relations. Frequent skirmishes and exchange of hot words at the highest levels have forced the US to set up a tripartite machinery to meet periodically, consult and sort out problems that crop up on the ground.

The management of the border is crucial to the US-led global war on terror that completes five years this week -- since two aircraft rammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on Sep 11, 2001.

The agreement is the outcome of efforts of the 45-member grand tribal Jirga, a council of tribal chiefs, constituted on July 20 last after several weeks of negotiations.

According to the agreement, the Utmanzai tribe has committed that the army and law-enforcement agency personnel and state properties will not be attacked; no target killing shall be carried out; no parallel administration will be established in the area; no cross-border movement to Afghanistan for militant activities will be carried out and no ingress in settled areas adjacent to North Waziristan Agency will take place.

Similarly, they have resolved that all foreigners in North Waziristan will leave Pakistan, those who are unable to do so for certain genuine reasons shall respect the law of the land and abide by all conditions of the agreement. They shall not disturb the peace and tranquillity of the area.

From the government side, it was agreed that those arrested during the operation will be released and their privileges and benefits would be restored; new checkposts on roads will be dispensed with.

The government will resolve all disputes in accordance with tribal customs and traditions. Compensation will be given to the innocent tribesmen who lost their lives and properties during the recent unrest. Army troops will be shifted to camps within the agency.

As per the agreement, a 10-member committee, comprising local elders, members of political administration and the Islamic clergy, has been formed to monitor progress on the agreement and ensure its implementation.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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