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PTI set to start peace march to SWA today
 
 
Saturday, October 06, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

PESHAWAR: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Friday denied it offered security for peace march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to South Waziristan Agency (SWA) and said that Imran Khan’s initiative is aimed at achieving political objectives.

 

The administration in South Waziristan Agency refused permission to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for a public meeting at Kotkai, Imran Khan-led PTI has requested the corps commander of Peshawar to relax curfew in the lawless tribal region for its rally to be held tomorrow on the culmination of its peace march set to begin from Islamabad today.

 

A grand tribal jirga, however, announced Friday the provision of security to the PTI peace march. Elders of Mahsud and Barki tribes attended the jirga held at Town Hall in Tank. Representatives of all tribal agencies also attended the jirga. A previously unheard militant organisation, Jaish-ul-Mujahideen al-Khilafat, however, urged the people not to participate in the PTI rally tomorrow and warned they would be responsible for their losses.

 

The South Waziristan political administration said: “Neither the condition in Waziristan is favourable nor the political administration has the capacity to provide security to about 100,000 participants of the rally in Kotkai.”

 

To block the peace rally, the political administration cancelled leaves of Khasadars and Levies and has ordered all personnel to remain on active duty. Talking to representatives of national and international media at his office, South Waziristan Political Agent Shahidullah Khan announced that there was complete bar on peace rally in the region. He also expressed his annoyance over political reforms in the region being taken as a joke.

 

According to sources, all major routes leading to South Waziristan have been blocked and even the routes earlier cleared for the affected people of the area have also been closed again.

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also said that the PTI would need a ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) issued by the provincial government. He said in a press release that if PTI Chairman Imran Khan wants to hold rally, then NOC would be required to enter South Waziristan. “We are political people and believe in the independence of politics. Also we did not impose restriction ever in the past,” he said.

 

The PTI was, however, not ready to heed warnings either by the provincial government or intelligence agencies and dispatched a letter to the corps commander of Peshawar requesting him to relax curfew in South Waziristan on the occasion of its peace rally against drone strikes.

 

PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood announced that they would go to Waziristan at any cost. He dubbed baseless all the reports regarding security of Waziristan peace march. Speaking to media, he held Interior Minister Rehman Malik responsible for all the “rumours” about the security of the peace march. “Rehman Malik is trying to aggravate matters,” he remarked.

 

Imran Khan has insisted the peace march would go ahead despite security fears and doubts over whether the authorities would allow it. He plans to lead a rally from Islamabad to South Waziristan to protest against US drone strikes. The PTI plans to lead the march to Kotkai village in South Waziristan and stage a rally there but Imran Khan said if the authorities intervened they would stage the rally wherever they were stopped.

 

Meanwhile, in an email to media organisations, including The News, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said the TTP considered Imran Khan a secular politician and never offered any protection to his rally in South Waziristan. “The TTP is a theoretical (sic) organisation, based on the fundamentals of Islam and we practice all our matters in light of Islamic orders. As Imran Khan is a liberal secular person and so is his party, we deny all baseless news stating that we have offered him security for his so-called peace rally. Our mujahideen are not so priceless (sic) that we would deploy them to protect a westernised and secular personality.”

 

The TTP spokesman said they had divided Pakistani politicians into two categories and considered both as slaves of the West. “The first category is of Pakistani politicians who remained in power and showed their enmity to the TTP, Islam and mujahideen by their actions. This category comprises of PPP, MQM and the ANP, etc. Another category is of those political parties which are yet come into power such as PML-N and PTI, etc. They too are secular and slave of the West, but we want to see how much they oppose us after coming into power. Although we consider Imran Khan a secular and liberal person and he himself proudly claims to be secular and liberal, we as a theoretical Islamic organisation have no sympathy for him.”

 

The TTP spokesman felt Imran Khan’s so-called peace march did not mean any sympathy with victims of the US drone attacks but [was] aimed at increasing his political value.

 

Mushtaq Yusufzai adds: A previously unheard militant organisation, Jaish-ul-Mujahideen al-Khilafat, has urged the people not to participate in the PTI rally to protest the US drone strikes and warned they would be responsible for their losses.

 

The mainstream TTP led by Hakimullah Mahsud distanced itself from the threat hurled by this mysterious militant organisation.

 

In a one-page printed leaflet written in Urdu language and sent to media organisations on Friday, the Jaish-ul-Mujahideen al-Khilafat said: “We inform all and sundry that Imran Khan is leading the protest rally into South Waziristan against drone attacks. Imran Khan has no sympathy with the tribal people and is merely staging a drama. He is an agent of Israel, the US and Britain. Imran Khan is promoting Christian and Jewish agenda in the region through the tribespeople by using drone attacks. We humbly appeal to the people not to participate in the rally, otherwise they would be responsible for their losses.”