One of the more important events this week flew somewhat under the radar, we had a visit from President General Musharaf and with him came the governor of the rebellious Waziristan province, the possible home to Bin Laden, and one where a peace pact was recently made. Some, like CT Blog and Bill Roggio think the pactÂ isÂ more capitulation than substance, but I am holding out hope that it will make for good things over time. More is becoming public on the Waziristan Truce, the Pak Tribune prints the key points
A day before, President, General Pervaz Musharraf`s visit to Kabul, the government and local tribesmen , generally known as Taliban, signed a peace agreement in Miranshah(South Waziristan, ) on September 05. The peace agreement was inked to end longstanding violence in North Waziristan. The Taliban had been following a unilateral ceasefire since June 2006. Shortly before the expiry of the one-month truce, Governor NWFP Lt Gen (retd) Ali Muhammad Orakzai formed a 45-member Grand Jirga to end the conflict in the region,bordering Afghanistan where more than 80,000 troops have been deployed to check militants allegedly moving across the Durand Line.
The agreement contains following clauses;
- There shall be no cross-border movement for militant activity in neighboring Afghanistan.
- The government guaranteed not to undertake any ground or air operation against the militants.
- It bounds the administration to resolve the issues through local customs and traditions.
- The army will remove checkpoints in the region and tribal Khasadar force and Levy will take over the check posts.
- The agreement envisages that the foreigners living in North Waziristan will have to leave Pakistan but those who cannot leave will be allowed to live peacefully, respecting the law of the land and the agreement.
- Both parties (army and militants) will return each other`s weapons, vehicles and communication tools seized during various operations.
- Jirga comprising tribal elders, Mujaheddin and Utmanzai tribe would ensure that no one attack law-enforcement personnel and state property.
- There will be no target killing and no parallel administration in the agency. The writ of the state will prevail in the area.
- Militants would not enter the settled districts adjacent to the agency.
- The government would release prisoners held during military action and would not arrest them again.
- A 10-member committee ” comprising elders, members of political administration and Ulema ” has been formed to monitor progress on the agreement and to ensure its implementation.
- The government would pay compensation for the loss of life and property of innocent tribesmen during the recent operation.
- There will be no ban on display of arms. However, tribesmen will not carry heavy weapons.
Here are some questions the Pak Tribune asks readers, much theÂ same we would ask:Â
1) Would this accord bring durable peace to the volatile region?
2) Political and security analysts say if the said accord had been struck earlier, hundreds of lives from both sides could have been saved. What do you think?
3) Who was the real winner of this conflict, local Taliban or the security forces or somebody else who gained out from this battle?
4) How can the tribesmen assure that no militancy will occur?
Only time will tell on all of these, however initial signs are mixed — thereÂ were a extra-judicial killing ofÂ elders and othersÂ post-pact, but there are also Afghan Taliban refugees leaving the region, and two incidents of Taliban crossing south from Aghanistan being captured by Tribals. The extra-judicial murders have been mixed as well, some of the deaths are pro-Taliban, some are tradionalist elders as you can see at Fourth Rail.
Some of these are outside Waziristan, some might be Balochi insurgents, some could be simple feuds or honor-killings that have gone on in all of these tribal regions since pre-history. I’m not writing this off on the balance of these “suspected pro-taliban” insurgents. If the foreigners and Afghan Taliban are being forced out, they are going to do their best as well to shake up the outcome.
You should also keep in mind that there were Taliban in Pakistan before Al Qaida & Terror arrived, the label is equivalent to “fundamentalist” here, but… not all fundamentalists act out on their principals and beliefs, here or in Pakistan. There are also stripes of “Talibanism” and splinter groups. They don’t all support terror. The main opposing factionsÂ in the region are the Traditionalists, or tribalists.
If this does work, then perhaps other pacts in other regions are not as objectionable? Is thisÂ the end of the civil war, and Pakistan has only the equivalent of Quantrill’s raiders and other unrepenitant insurgentsÂ left to fight? Again, only time and events will tell the truth or falsity of the pact.
My money is that this is a real attempt to turn the foreigners out, Bill Roggio’s is on this being a sham; on my side I will put up a dinner at KC Masterpiece, Gates Barbeque, or Jack Stack if Bill ever makes it to the KC area, against whatever Bill cares to wager.
UPDATE From The Frontier Post, this is not looking good:
Local and foreign Taliban in Waziristan have started preparations to cope with the situations as they fear the government may breach the peace agreement. They fear that after pressure from the United States to launch new military operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban the government may violate the pact, sources told The Frontier Post on Friday. Recent statements from both Pakistan and the US president have created a panic in the ranks of al-Qaeda and Taliban. Reports suggest that the anti-agreement leadership has started to chalk out a new strategy to cope with the situation if any violation of the peace accord comes into place from the side of Pakistan government. For this purpose tribesmen have called an under ground meeting in the first week of Ramazan to discuss the new emerging scenario in the region. Talking to The Frontier Post a top leader of Taliban on the basis of anonymity said, ?an emergency meeting of Taliban leadership has been called to discuss the situation as we fear that Pakistan will bow to the US pressure and will violate the peace agreement and will launch new military campaigns in the region.? ?If the government violets the peace treaty, then our resistance will be toughest and President Musharraf will be responsible for all the disastrous consequences,? he threatened On the other hand, those who are against the pact in Waziristan led by Qari Tahir Jan, Abdullah Mehsud and Haji Muhammad Umar has started preparations to fight both against Pakistan army and coalition forces, in any offensive against them. According to the sources close to this scribe, Qari Tahir Jan, Haji Umar and Abdullah Mehsud have got the support of al-Qaeda leaders like Sheikh Isa, Abu Hamam, Yahya Abu Lais and Abu Nasir. These leaders were against the peace agreements from the very beginning but they accepted it only due to the pressures from the local jirga and for the interest of the local people. A top Taliban leader while talking to this scribe said, only a few people who were interested to achieve prominence entered the agreements, which include Bait ullah Mehsud and Haji Nazir. Those who were against the truce knew about the credibility of these agreements.
As we know Pakistan has no independent policy in the region and that’s why we feared the credibility of these agreements from the very beginning, despite we respect the agreements and all our fighters are bound to respect it as well, he added. According to sources in Waziristan the prominent Taliban groups are, Javaid Malangai Group, Uzbak Group, Saifullah Chachu Group and the Group of two Arab commanders Shaikh Khalid Habib al Shami and Abu Hamam Alyamani. The Additional Chief Secretary of FATA Arbab Shahzad told that the government has made the agreement for the better interest of the region. The government has made all these agreements in the interests of the people and is fully committed to respect the truce. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appreciated these agreements as it will bring peace and stability in the region, he added.
You can see the history of this pact in the previous articles by doing a sidebar search on Waziristan here.