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Tribesmen, American Direct Contact Will Be a Crushing Defeat to Terrorism

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The tribal elders and maliks were never taken into confidence for signing the agreements with the  Taliban and terrorists in the tribal region situated on Pak-Afghan border. Actually the signing of the agreement was an attempt to install the Taliban government in the tribal areas. The real genuine leaders of the tribal areas were always ingnored in these agreements.

The terrorists and Taliban, after losing the war in Afghanistan, have chosen the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border for continuation of their ugly games. During these ugly games thousands of tribemen have lost their lives. Most of the victims were children and women.

The US State Department report about terrorism carried by most of the newspapers of Pakistan is a clear depiction that Pakistan is still the safe haven for terrorism and terrorists. The report said Pakistan “remains a major source of Islamic extremism and a safe haven for some top terrorist leaders”, despite being a frontline ally of the United States in the “war on terror."

According to the report, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been a safe haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. “Despite Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate threats and establish effective governance in FATA, these tribal areas continued to be terrorist safe havens and sources of instability for Pakistan and its neighbours,” says the report.

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Pakistan maintains 80,000 Frontier Corps and Army troops in FATA, but has been unable to exert control over the area, says the report. The US is helping Pakistan train the FC so it becomes more effective in its role. The planned closure of four refugee camps near the Pak-Afghan border would also help.

“The failure of the tribal leaders in FATA to fulfil their promises to the government under the terms of the North Waziristan agreement signed in September, failed to stem insurgent infiltration into Afghanistan,” it says.

The report says Pakistan’s government is taking a three-pronged approach to increase its writ in FATA – political, security and developmental. “For the political prong, Pakistan seeks to bolster effective governance by empowering local officials. For the security prong, Pakistan’s objective is to increase the capacity and efficacy of local security forces. For the developmental prong, the government has designed a comprehensive sustainable development plan for the region.”

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The report says that though President Gen Pervez Musharraf “remained a forceful advocate for his vision of ‘enlightened moderation,’ calling on Pakistanis to reject extremism and terrorist violence,” the government’s crackdown on banned organisations, hate material, and incitement by religious leaders continued “unevenly”.

The report estimates that 900 Pakistanis lost their lives in more than 650 terror attacks in 2006, with another 1,500 people seriously injured. These attacks came from Al Qaeda and its supporters, as well as violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and militant sub-nationalists in Balochistan.

The report notes that Pakistani security services cooperated with the US and other nations to foil the August London Heathrow bomb plot, and Pakistan’s leaders took steps to prevent support to Kashmiri militancy and denounced acts of terrorism in India.

And though hundreds were killed in sectarian violence, the report says the total number of sectarian terror attacks continued to decline for the second year in a row in 2006.

It says though Pakistan continued to work with the UNSCR 1267 Committee to freeze the assets of terrorist entities linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, “several UN-sanctioned entities continued to operate”. It also noted that an anti-money laundering bill introduced in the National Assembly in September 2005 has still not been passed, adding that the legislation would “significantly broaden Pakistan’s ability to cooperate internationally on counter-terrorism finance issues”.

The report also said the Bush administration had designated Islamic groups Harkatul Mujahideen (HUM), Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba– all said to be based in Pakistan - as “foreign terrorist organisations,” prohibiting US residents from extending material support to them. This also denies individuals representing these groups from entering or doing business in the US. In all 42 groups, active in different parts of the world, figure in the US terrorist list.

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The report says HUM and JeM are politically aligned with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and operate primarily in Indian-held Kashmir.

The department has designated Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaatul Mujahideen as “groups of concern”.

The Voice For Peace an organisation of tribal people while expressing reaction over the report demanded that the the United States should make a direct accord with the people of tribal areas. According to the law of the land, the US can do this. Tribal areas are still enjoying special status. The original and real tribal leaders want direct talks with the United States.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, 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 also (more...)
 

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