PESHAWAR - While admitting its failure, the grand Jirga of Utmanzai elders in North Waziristan Agency on Sunday asked local tribesmen to leave their homes for safer places to avoid damage during the 'expected full-fledged' military operation in the area, according to local and official sources.
"Grand jirga of North Waziristan admits failure in talks with the government. Therefore, the people of the area should leave their homes for safer places," said the jirga in a statement. "The Utmanzai elders tried their best but all in vain."
The 65-member jirga headed by Haji Sheer Muhammad Khan, the grandson of legendary freedom fighter Faqir Ipi, was formed on May 27 to restore peace in the area through dialogue. On May 6, during its meeting with the governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) the jirga was tasked to oust the foreign and non-local militants from the area within two weeks. After returning to North Waziristan the jirga started meetings with different tribal elders and local militant commanders. Even the jirga during its meeting with militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur convinced him to extend his deadline for 10 more days. Hafiz Gul Bahadur had warned to breach his peace agreement on June 10 that he had signed with the government in August 2007. The locals were pinning their hopes on the jirga to restore peace in the area through dialogue but the incident of Karachi airport and the claim of Waziristan-based Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) that took credit for the attack changed the whole scenario. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) started targeting the hideouts of militants in North Waziristan that reportedly killed more than 80 militants, mostly Uzbeks foreigners.
"We tried our best to restore peace in the area through dialogue; the jirga had some successful meetings with local Taliban commanders but Karachi incident spoiled all our efforts," said a member of the jirga on condition of anonymity. He added, "Under these circumstances we can't work further."
Following aerial strikes, situation is very complex in North Waziristan; thousands of people have already left the tribal agency for safer places in the settled areas of the country while the remaining are trying to leave their homes as soon as possible. On Sunday TTP claimed in a statement that more than 50,000 tribesmen have been shifted to Afghanistan.
Sources in political administration in Miranshah revealed, "The tribesmen might be asked to vacate their homes within next five days and notification is this regard is expected anytime." –TAHIR ALI