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Pak Army paid millions to Taleban Mehsud

Pak Army paid millions to Taleban Mehsud

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Published by: Mohammad Shahid Khan on Apr 16, 2010
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03/04/2013

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Waziristan militants check their guns: Abdullah Mehsud (Top-R), Pakistan Army ready
 
Pakistan Army Pays MoreThan Half Million Dollars toAl Qaeda in Bizarre Deal
 
Special SAT Report
 
 
PESHAWAR, February 10: Pakistan Army has publiclyadmitted paying Al Qaeda over half a million dollars in the
 
most bizarre deal it has ever made with militantWaziristan fighters, battling the Army and the US forces inthe rugged terrain bordering Afghanistan for months .
 
The announcement of the payment was made in Peshawar bynone other than the Corps Commander of Peshawar Corps, theman incharge of military operations in Waziristan, Lt Gen Safdar
 
Hussain, who said Rs32 million (US$540,000) had been paid to to help four former wantedtribal militants in South Waziristan "to settle debts with al-Qaeda."
 
General Hussain said the the payments were part of a peace deal signed on Monday withtribesmen, but the public admission that money had been paid to be transferred to Al Qaedastunned analysts and diplomatic observers in Islamabad.
 
But the main militant rebel, an ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was released some timeback, refused to accept the deal.
 
According to
The Daily Times
, which the deal with Baitullah Mehsud was negotiated by anti-US religious political leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-MMA who had been a strongersponsor and supporter of the Taliban. The "peace deal" ceremony ended with shouts of 
 “Death to America”, The Daily Times reported.
 
According to
BBC 
Gen Hussain said four former wanted militants had insisted they neededthe money to pay back huge sums to al-Qaeda. Haji Sharif and Maulvi Abbas received Rs15million each, while Maulvi Javed and Haji Mohammad Omar were each paid one millionrupees.
 
Gen Hussain said a sum of Rs20 million rupees was also offered to tribal leader, Baitullah
 
Mehsud, who signed the peace deal, but that he rejected it. The commander said themilitants had initially sought Rs170 million.
 
The peace deal offers an amnesty in return for the tribe's pledge not to support al-Qaedaand Tale ban militants or attack government installations.
 
Editorially criticizing the deal,
Daily Times
 
said It sounded very much like the “peace” ceremony last year with Nek Muhammad, the Wazir “Taliban commander” with Al Qaeda
connections; only on that occasion high-ranking Pakistani military officers were present and
there were speeches against America‟s “invasion” of Afghanistan to appease the Wazir jirga.
This time the domination of the ceremony by JUI was obvious. A tribal representative found
occasion to appeal to China to “forgive” the mur
der by Abdullah Mehsud and his terrorists of a Chinese engineer working at the Gomal Zam Dam kidnapped by them and held forblackmail.
 
The “appeal” to China has been published in the national press. Backed by the MMA, it will
be accepted as a ridiculous ap
plication of the law of tribal “honor” on a foreign country.
China is thus supposed to redeem its honor by forgiving a terrorist who has been an inmateat the Guantanamo Bay prison, providing justification to a dubious judicial enterprise byAmerica.
 
 
The
Times
asked: "But where is the honor of the government of Pakistan and how has it
redeemed it in the long drawn out “war with Al Qaeda” in the Tribal Areas? The “deal” with
 
Nek Muhammad fell through before the ink was dry on it and the man had finally to be killed
with a missile, but not before he became a „hero‟ of sorts despite his not so honorable
personal profile in the area where he operated.
 
It said: "The fact is that the government has little public credibility on its “Wana Operation”.
Equally, the re
ligious parties are in denial and still maintain that there are no “foreign” 
terrorists in South Waziristan except those that came in the 1980s and settled down. Also,
 
the ARD parties have opposed the “operation” and linked it to the “operation” in Balochi
stanand accused Islamabad of taking dictation from America against its own people. The corps
commander and the governor in Peshawar handle the “operation” in South Waziristan, but
they must be aware that the PR side of what they have done has not worked at all. Theresult is that President Pervez Musharraf has also lost support among the community of retired generals who usually back him.
 
The media‟s registration of the strategy of the Wana “operation” is interesting too. Quoted
in the press, the Peshawar corps commander said on February 7, 2005 that the operation in
Wana had killed over 150 “foreign terrorists” and a large number of them had been
arrested. He said there were still around 100 at large. In March 2004 there were 600-700 of 
 
them there. He said the survivors had fled in groups of four and were spread around in thecountry. There were 70,000 Pakistani troops deployed in South Waziristan while there wereonly 18,000 allied and Afghan forces on the Afghan side of the border. He said he hadordered
44 operations in one year. One might ask: why was he not able to show the “largenumber” of foreign terrorists, captured or dead, to the media? Did he not know that the
Wana Operation had no political credibility? Why did he ignore the first lesson in suchoperations: establishing credibility among the public?
 
"We fear that the truth might turn out to show the latest peace deal as another dead-on-arrival achievement of the government. The JUI has got its Banuri Masjid graduate AbdullahMehsud off the hook without surrendering a single killer. If the troops go after him now,Baitullah Mehsud will call it a breach of faith and declare war once again, just like Nek
Muhammad did. Meanwhile, the Wazirs have not appreciated the “deal” with the Mehsud
 jirga and have killed two journalists who were returning from the peace ceremony. Both the
 journalists were Wazirs: hence the tribal disapproval of “joining in with the enemy”.Therefore if “peace” with Baitullah Mehsud was a tactic of relieving the mounting pressure
from Balochistan, it may turn out to be another dud," the
Daily Times
said
 
As predicted by the
Daily Times
, on Wednesday tribal militant Abdullah Mehsud, wanted forkidnapping two Chinese engineers last year, told the BBC he did not support the deal signedby Baitullah Mehsud. He said only a holy war would evict "US agents" from Pakistan.
 
Abdullah Mehsud speaking to the
BBC's
Haroon Rashid in Peshawar by phone from anundisclosed location, said: "Baitullah's thinking might be that he can achieve his aims bysigning the peace agreement, while mine is that only a holy war against the US and
 
Pakistani government could achieve this."
 
Abdullah Mehsud spent about two years in US custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beforebeing released. He fought for the Tale ban in Afghanistan, losing a leg in a landmineexplosion a few days before the Tale ban took Kabul in September 1996. He is wanted formasterminding the abduction of two Chinese engineers in South Waziristan last year, one of whom was killed in a rescue attempt.
 

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