By Masood Khan
Daily Times, October 29, 2006
KHAR: A meeting of pro-Taliban tribal militants and elders on Saturday called Osama Bin Laden and Mulla Omar “heroes of the Muslim world” and vowed joint efforts to fight the “enemies of peace” in Bajaur Agency.
A jirga of the Mamoond tribe and local pro-Taliban militants in the Umree area of Mamoond tehsil announced that tribal people would protect Pakistan’s borders.
The announcement comes days after the political administration of Bajaur Agency released nine suspected Al Qaeda militants, triggering rumours that a North Waziristan-like peace accord was also likely in Bajaur, which overlooks Afghanistan’s Kunar province where Osama and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are suspected to be hiding.
“We have no links with terrorism. We were peaceful tribesmen and we are peaceful tribesmen today,” wanted local Taliban commander Maulana Faqir Muhammad told the jirga. “We are not involved in attacks on security check posts nor are we killing security personnel. We are citizens of this country and want its development,” he added.
Faqir said the government was responsible for the law and order problem in the tribal areas. He said that Pakistan’s western border was “fully secured” when the Taliban were ruling Afghanistan and added that the Taliban’s ouster in 2001 resulted in a “serious threat” to the country’s western borders.
He said no one would be allowed to disturb peace in Bajaur Agency. He said that his comrades had no other agenda except to uphold the supremacy of Islam. He welcomed the release of nine Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi activists. The organisation is currently banned. He said that “jihad against the enemies of Islam” would continue. He said that Sharia could only be enforced through “practical jihad”, and not democracy.