Pakistani tribe to surrender Taliban leaders under peace pact


Islamabad : A major tribe in Pakistan has agreed to stop sheltering the foreign militants, hand over local Taliban leaders and accept the writ of the government in troubled Bajaur district, media reports said Tuesday.

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The breakthrough came days after Pakistan’s security forces announced they had defeated the militants in Bajaur after six months of fighting.

Leaders of the Mamoond, the largest tribe in the district that borders Afghanistan, signed a 28-point peace accord Monday, agreeing to surrender local Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, his spokesman Muslim Khan and three other key figures, the Dawn newspaper reported.

However, the Taliban leaders will be pardoned and allowed to live peacefully if they promised not to fight government forces.

Under the agreement, all militants would lay down arms and get themselves registered with their respective tribes to facilitate monitoring and stop propaganda against the state and its institutions.

The Mamoond tribe also agreed not to shelter any Al Qaeda-linked foreign militants, rent or sell them property and to register all Islamic seminaries in the area.

Pakistan has previously signed several peace deals with the militants directly or indirectly, through tribesmen, but these have yielded little success.

Security officials seem optimistic because the government undertook the latest deal from a point of strength. The militants announced a unilateral ceasefire late last month when the troops captured two strategic hilltops in the mountainous district.

The government launched an offensive in Bajaur in August 2008 when the militants attacked a paramilitary base in the Loi Sum area of the district.

Six months of fighting left more than 1,500 Taliban and dozens of soldiers dead, and over 200,000 people were internally displaced.