The News reports on PR Seminar with Hamid Mir

Most militants fighting to avenge military actions’
Published in The News: Monday, September 29, 2008

When Corps Commander Ali Jan Orakzai had deployed troops for the first time in Mohmand Agency in 2003, he gave an impression that the military intended to build schools, hospitals and roads there but he rather launched an operation against the militants that ultimately created further problems for civilians, as a result separatist tendency increased there. And this was the beginning of the conflict there.

Senior journalist Hamid Mir said this while speaking at a seminar “Military action in Fata, reality, myths and implications”, held at Justice Cornelius Library of the newly built National Law University, Clifton, on Sunday.

“The concept of Pakistan has almost ended there as the insurgency is taking shape of separatism,” he added.

According to him, there exist around 10-15 militant groups, which are not Taliban and they are not well organized. “They lack command structure and sometimes they also fight with each other. They are insurgents and separatists,” he claimed.

“Mohmand Agency is the biggest hub of separatist tendency,” Hamid Mir believed, adding that it was being led by Abdul Wali who originally belongs to “Shab Qadr” and who operates with the cover name of Omer Khalid.

“His men search for victims’ families and pick youths aged between 14 to 15 years and train them for carrying out terrorist activities,” he said.

These militants sometimes also deliver instant “justice” to thieves, etc. and impress the locals but they have successfully hidden their terrorist activities to deceive the common men, he said. Initially, youths trained at Abdul Wali’s camp only fought against Pakistan Army but now they have started killing civilians also, he added.

Hamid Mir said that US spy drones never target Wali’s camp but they target Shah Khalid because he was allegedly involved in attacking US troops in Kunar province of Afghanistan by crossing border.

Referring to the detention of “suicide bomber” in Khyber Agency by “Moral Brigade” the other day, Mir said they were also militant outfits but Pakistan Army did not take action against them since they fight against USA and were not against Pak Army.

He said Pakistan has to change its policy of “good Taliban and bad Taliban, good militant and bad militant”.

He claimed that 78 per cent of the militants were involved in avenging military actions, saying: “If you talk to them, they don’t know much about Islam and some even do not perform prayers; there are only 30pc militants who have some ideological agenda and want to achieve the same through guns”.

He said Baitullah Mehsood turned anti-Pakistan only one-and-a-half years ago after the government did not fulfill promises made with him in 2005.

Mir claimed that Baitullah gets support from Afghanistan and whenever Pakistan informed US about his presence, the US never targeted him.

He said another outfit led by Moulvi Nazir did not fight against Pak troops but his men fight in Afghanistan.

He said it was because of him that the US recently targetted Angoor Ada.

Mir said that the root cause of the conflict was the presence of US troops in Afghanistan and added that we must also condemn the militants who were creating problems.

“The army action was brining miseries for civilians while Taliban across the border are also creating problems,” he said, adding that a new thinking was being developed among influential tribal leaders there that they should take action against those Taliban who cross border and carry out acts in Afghanistan.

Recently, the politicians of NWFP had clearly told the army chief during his briefing to take action against all Taliban and do not differentiate between good and bad Taliban or else wind up the military operation, he added.

Hamid Mir further said that the Bajaur militants tended to help militants in Kunar province, while militants from Kunar were coming to Bajaur in reciprocation.

He said the problem has become complicated and it was high time that civil society should come forward and its first priority should be the displaced civilians who were living in miserable condition at camps.

He said the government could pacify the situation in Fata by announcing general amnesty for militants on the pattern of Balochistan, adding, the government should also initiate political dialogue, focus on development of tribal areas, end FCR and allow parliament to play vibrant role.

To a question, he claimed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was supporting separatist elements in Fata.

He said that Baitullah Mehsood was being supported by Afghanistan, while Pakistan supports Moulvi Nazir.

Mir said Moulvi Nasir originally belongs to Khyber Agency and he was running a training camp in Khost province of Afghanistan where he trains militants and later sell them for five to 10 lakh rupees to Baitullah Mehsood.

The Geo anchorman said that drug money was also compounding the problem and asked as to why the government was not taking action against 300 shops which openly sell heroin in Bara.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Uzma Aslam and Abila Ashfaq of People’s Resistance and relatives of displaced persons Ali Hasan and Badshahzada said that human miseries were multiplying in the affected areas.

Badshahzada said that the remaining people in Bajaur have developed tunnels inside their homes and live there in fear.

He said people did not know who their enemies are – Taliban or security forces. Ali Hasan said the ordinary people in tribal areas did not support the army because they were the victims of military operations. —IA



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