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Pakistani Deal With Taliban to Derail War on Terrorism; Al Qaeda Prisoners Released

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Pakistan has signed another deal with the Taliban in Bajaur Agency, the second agency of tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border. Before signing the deal, the political agent, the controlling officer of Bajaur Agency ordered release of all the prisoners who were arrested years ago for having connection with al-Qaeda and Taliban. The Taliban jubiliantly received their colleagues with heavy firing as they declared that they have won the war.

Most of the tribes have rejected the deal with the Taliban, as, according to them, they will never accept thee Taliban as their rulers. "The areas belong to us and those who have been trying to impose Taliban on us are the real terrorists," some of the tribal leaders opined. "We are peace-loving people and the impression that we have enmity with the Americans is wrong and this was created by the real terrorists," they said.

A newspaper correspondent reported that the once most wanted tribal cleric Maulana Faqir Mohammad in Bajaur tribal agency and his fellow militants have inked a peace accord with the government while the government urday released all his relatives as a gesture of good will.

On the forth day of Eidul Fitr, both sides would formally sign the peace agreement. Maulana Faqir Mohammad's brother, Maulana Gul Mohammad and two other important religious figures, Dr Ismail and Maulana Inayatur Rahman were also among the released tribesmen.

The Pakistani security forces, in a raid on the house of Maulana Faqir Mohammad in Chopatra villages of Bajuar Agency, arrested Maulana Gul Mohammad and an Uzbek national Huzaifa a day after the dramatic arrest of alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu Faraj al-Libbi in Mardan on May 2.

Besides Faqir Mohammad's brother, those released were identified as Bahadur Khan, Habibullah, Bashirullah, Ziaul Haq, Jamal Syed, Nazimeen Khan and as mentioned the two clerics--Dr Ismail and Maulana Inayatur Rahman.

Maulana Faqir Mohammad's supporters received their released colleagues with warm welcome and celebrated their release with heavy firing into the air. Members of the tribal jirga took them to the village after their release from central prison in Khar, headquarters of Bajaur Agency.

Two of them, Dr Ismail and Maulana Inayatur Rahman, were detained in Peshawar and were thoroughly interrogated. Another tribal cleric, Maulana Jan Mohammad, 35, son of an aged Maulana Mohammad Amin, whose house was last year burnt by a tribal jirga, had already died in custody of the law enforcement agencies allegedly due to extreme torture on him.

A tribal jirga comprising local tribal elders had started peace negotiations between the government and tribal clerics a few months ago, and, on one occasion, the jirga members met with sort of embarrassment when the tribal clerics assured them of their full support for resolving the long standing issue, but the government then showed a very cold response.

However, according to sources NWFP Governor Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai has now given a green signal to the tribal jirga members that helped end the long deadlock in negotiations.

The jirga members, including Malik Abdul Aziz of Qamar, Malik Mohammad Ayaz of Bar Kaley, Malik Mohammad Shah Jehan and over a dozen others, restarted their peace talks with tribal clerics' leaders--Maulana Faqir Mohammad and his deputy Maulana Liaqat in Damadola.

It should be mentioned here that Maulana Faqir Mohammad was accused by the US secret service, CIA, of hosting a dinner at his Damadola village in Bajaur Agency on January 13 for al-Qaeda's deputy leader and Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, Dr al-Zawahiri and other foreign militants.

However, the Maulana later rejected all the CIA's claims and termed them baseless and fabricated allegations against him to justify the killing of innocent civilians. The home of his cousins in the nearby Seway village was also raided, and three of them, namely Maulana Jan Mohammad, Maulana Bashir Mohammad and Maulana Nazir Mohammad were held.

The tribal leaders are not happy with the deal as according to them, they have not been taken into confidence on the deal. They have appealed to the US leaders to save them from terrorism.

According to a Western newspaper report, Pakistan has been faulted for signing the Waziristan deal which has led to an increase in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

According to its editorial, "In September, the Pakistan government of Pervez Musharraf agreed to abandon its North Waziristan ï which shares a long border with Afghanistan ï to the de facto rule of its 'tribal elders' and the Taliban and mujahadeen terrorists they harbour. Since then...the number of cross-border raids into Afghanistan has risen threefold. It's true that the agreement the Pakistan government signed with these elders explicitly forbids such raids. But General Musharraf surely knew that the Taliban would not keep idle in Waziristan for long, especially since he also agreed to the release and pardon of all Taliban prisoners and the return of their confiscated weapons."

The situation is grim, as according to some reports, Taliban fighters have been planning big attacks both in tribal areas and Afghanistan. Now they have been telling the people that they have defeated the US forces.
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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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