Taliban offers security to Imran Khan’s peace-rally

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 11:30:06 by

In yet another twist in the saga, Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) reportedly offered Imran Khan its security for a peace march into tribal region at the weekend, Daily Telegraph said in a report.

According to the report, a meeting of the senior Taliban commanders held with the group’s leader Hakimullah Mehsud in the chair, setting aside earlier instructions to send suicide bombers to assassinate the cricketer-turned-politician.

Instead of offensive policy, the group decided to offer security assistance to the rally, accepting Khan’s strident opposition to US drone strikes against militants in its territory.

Quoting spokesman of the outfit it reported, “We are ready to provide them security if they need. We endorses Imran Khan’s plea that drone strikes are against our sovereignty,” he said. “The anti-drone rallies should have been taken out by the religious leaders long ago but Imran had taken the lead and we wouldn’t harm him or his followers.”

Imran Khan, the chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has vowed to rally to South Waziristan against drone attacks along with thousands of people, including 30 civil society activists from the US.

Earlier on Sunday, the former captain said he had been promised the support of local tribes but was worried the government was opposed to allowing foreign peace campaigners and journalists to attend.

He claimed that the Mehsud, Burki and Bhittani tribes of Waziristan had assured him of providing security to the participants of the rally.

The rally is scheduled to start from Islamabad and will pass through Balkasar, Talagang and Mianwali, reaching DI Khan on October 6.

On October 7, the participants will gather in Tank and then will move towards South Waziristan where a public meeting will be held at Kot Kai.

South Waziristan is one of the seven regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), governed by tribal laws.

An Islamist insurgency led by the Pakistani Taliban plagues the region, which is close to the Pak-Afghan border, while the area is known to be infested with militants, including the al-Qaeda, the Taliban and several other armed extremist organisations.

The tribal areas, especially North and South Waziristan, have also been the stage of US drone strikes, which many say are ineffective and have claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.

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