World | Pakistan

Pakistan signs pact with pro-Taliban militants

Pro Taliban militants and the Pakistani government signed a peace deal on Tuesday, according to Pakistani negotiators.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 00:00 September 5, 2006
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • A file photo shows rebel tribal elder Maulvi Abbas Khan (right) presenting a copy of the Quran to Pakistan Army Commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain in Shakai near Wana, South Waziristan. The government and pro-Taliban militants yesterday signed an agreement to ensure "permanent" peace in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Miranshah: Pro Taliban militants and the Pakistani government signed a peace deal on Tuesday, according to Pakistani negotiators.

The militants said they would stop attacks in Pakistan and across the Afghan border on the condition that the Pakistani government stop air and ground operations in the Waziristan region and dismantle newly built checkposts.

People arrested during military operations will also be released under the agreement and confiscated property, including weapons, would be returned.

"The agreement will pave the way for permanent peace in the region," said Malik Shahzada, a member of a tribal council that has been overseeing negotiations with the rebels.

The ceasefire was signed on a dusty football ground at a college in Miranshah, the main town of the North Waziristan region.

Tribal council members, most in turbans and with long beards, watched as a Pakistani army commander, Major General Azhar Ali Shah, embraced representatives of the militants after the pact was signed.

Many Al Qaeda militants and Taliban members fled to Waziristan after US-led forces overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001. Hundreds of Pakistani troops and militants were killed in the region as the government attempted to push its authority into semi-autonomous tribal lands on the Afghan border as part of efforts in the US-led war on terrorism.

The peace agreement means that there will be no more free movement for tribes to enter into Afghanistan.

"Except for trade, people will not be allowed to go to Afghanistan to launch attacks," said Nek Zaman, a member of the tribal council who is also a member of the Pakistani parliament.

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