Jirga warns of ending peace deal

MIRAMSHAH: A local jirga in North Waziristan Agency has said it will end a five-year-old peace agreement with the government if curfew in the tribal region is not lifted by April 24.

The agency remained under curfew for the sixth consecutive day on Sunday.

The curfew was imposed after clashes erupted between security forces and militants in the Miramshah area, which left 18 people injured.

The jirga asked the political administration to lift the curfew, open roads for traffic and abolish new checkposts in the area.

The Uthmanzai tribe and local Taliban had signed the agreement with the government in 2007.

Tribal elders at the jirga said they would pull out of the peace agreement unilaterally if the government failed to accept their demands.

People in the agency were critical of the government after the imposition of curfew. They expressed concern over closure of educational institutions in the area.

Recently, a local Taliban shura stopped students from attending schools after security forces closed the main road for traffic.

A large number of students studying in Peshawar and other parts of the country have been stranded in different parts of North Waziristan because of the curfew.

Hundreds of people and a number of trucks loaded with goods have been stranded in Bannu.

There is shortage of vegetables, fruits and other basic commodities in local markets because of closure of the main roads.  In Miramshah, the price of 80-kg bag of wheat flour has jumped from Rs2,700 to Rs4,000 and tomato is being sold at Rs150 per kg.

Candidates taking part in May 11 elections have restricted their election campaigns because of the prolonged curfew and tensions in the area.

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usman hashmi

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