Saturday, January 10, 2004

Give up wanted men or face operation, tribals told

* Tribal chiefs seek 48 hours for consultation

By Iqbal Khattak

PESHAWAR: The government on Saturday warned chieftains of all Wazir tribes to hand over the persons responsible for an attack on an Army camp on Friday as well as the tribesmen believed to have sheltered Al Qaeda terrorists or face “an unprecedented Army operation”.

South Waziristan Agency Deputy Administrator Rehmatullah Wazir warned tribal elders at a jirga called in Wana, capital of the troubled South Waziristan Agency that they would be responsible for the consequences if the wanted men were not surrendered. “The elders will be responsible if the wanted men are not given up and the government takes action to capture them,” Mr Wazir told the jirga. The jirga was called after four soldiers were killed early on Friday after unidentified militants fired rockets on their camp.

(much of article deleted here, but click through to read)

Sources in Wana said the Zalikhel had asked all Wazir tribes to help them capture the wanted men to bring what a senior government official called “a grave situation” under control. “The Zalikhels have said they cannot capture the wanted men alone and sought the support of the other major tribes,” tribal sources said.

Whole chunks of the war on terror are going on outside our view, yet success or failure here could determine the fate of President Musharraf. Pakistani fundamentalists could become stirred up enough that Al Qaeda will find enough cannon fodder to make sure one of their attempts succeeds - or the government could prove themselves able to handle the fundamentalists.

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