Pakistan finalizes peace accord with Mehsud tribe

Pakistan's new government has drafted a peace agreement with warring Mehsuds in its troubled tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, officials and a tribe spokesman said Wednesday.

Pakistan finalizes peace accord with Mehsud tribe
The government launched talks with the Islamist fighters soon after winning elections in February, amid concerns that the military-orientated tactics of President Pervez Musharraf were spawning more violence.

"Work is in progress swiftly on a new peace agreement with the Taliban Movement of Pakistan," a senior security official said, adding that "indirect negotiations" through tribal elders were ongoing.

"The draft agreement contains clauses under which both sides will not take armed action against each other. Military will be withdrawn from certain areas, attacks on security forces will be stopped by militants," the official said.

The chief spokesman for the country's umbrella group Tehreek-e-Taliban (Taliban Movement) Pakistan, Maulvi Omar, confirmed that "our negotiations with government are going on."

"There is significant positive development, we have accepted most of each others' demands. In next few days we hope that a positive outcome is achieved," Omar said.

Dawn, a respected English-language daily, said the draft 15-point peace agreement also involves the exchange of prisoners and said it had the backing of senior political and military figures.

Authorities freed a senior pro-Taliban Pakistani, Sufi Mohammad, earlier this week after his group, Tahreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi, pledged to leave armed battle.

Taliban spokesman Omar said the agreement would apply to the semi-autonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and other troubled nearby regions including the former tourist area of Swat, he said.

"If our demands are accepted, then we will end our armed struggle and stop attacks against security forces, Taliban will remain peaceful," said Omar.


Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2008, 09:03
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