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Monday, September 28, 2009

Afrasiyab Khattak wants timeline for action in Fata

Seeks end to terrorists’ safe havens

The News ,Monday, September 28, 2009

PESHAWAR: Provincial President of the Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Afrasiyab Khattak Sunday asked the federal government to give a timeline for the elimination of terrorists’ safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“We want answer from the central government that for how long the terrorists would continue to rule Fata? Now is the right time for us to demand a timeframe from the government regarding the dismantling of the bases of terrorists in Waziristan,” Khattak said in his hard-hitting remarks while while speaking at a reference for the late Afghan president Dr Najibullah on his 13th death anniversary at the Bacha Khan Markaz.

“A decisive operation is required in Fata like the one in Malakand division. Let me be clear that the people of tribal areas have nothing to do with terrorism. In fact they are the victims of terrorism and have been made hostage by terrorists,” Khattak said.

He said that the terrorists had captured land from the people of tribal areas. Hundreds of their elders had been killed and time would prove that tribal people were the strongest opponents of the terrorists, he added.

He criticised the government for leaving the people of tribal areas in the lurch. “The tribesmen are helpless as the state is not fulfilling its responsibilities and the federal government has not devised a comprehensive strategy to deal with the situation,” Khattak said.

The ANP leader insisted that there was no war in Afghanistan. “There was chaos, warlordism, drug issues and many other problems in Afghanistan. The base of war, he believed, was on the Pakistan side of the Pak-Afghan border. I am sure of peace in Afghanistan if the masterminds of war ceased their game,” he argued.

“The masterminds of this war-machine are sitting across Attock. This is being run and controlled from Punjab. If the situation continues and the solution is not properly sought out, we will be correct to understand that this is genocide of Pakhtuns,” Khattak alleged.

He feared if the Fata problem was not addressed immediately, a roadmap could come from the United Nations or some country because the issue was of international magnitude. He warned the menace of terrorism would continue to exist until concrete and effective steps were taken for dealing with the militants in Fata.

Khattak, whose party is an ally of the PPP government both at the Centre and NWFP, said the vehicle of Tariq Azizuddin, former ambassador to Afghanistan, who was kidnapped and later recovered from Waziristan, was still in the use of a militant commander in Miramshah with diplomatic number plate.

“Where are the kidnapped Afghan ambassador and the Iranian diplomat? They are with these terrorists. What sort of state is this where we cannot protect foreign diplomats?” Khattak questioned.

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