Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader from South Waziristan, Senator Saleh Shah Mehsud on Saturday expressed confidence in tribesmen using their right to vote, saying they will fully participate in the upcoming general elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has demanded amendments to laws in order to facilitate the one million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Polling stations will be set up in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan to enable the Mehsuds to elect their representative from NA-42 of South Waziristan.
In the 2008 polls, elections were held for NA-41 of South Waziristan, but not for the NA-42 seat.
“I am hopeful that the Mehsud IDPs settled in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan will participate,” Senator Shah told participants of a jirga of the Mehsud tribe.
Talking about JUI-F’s grand jirga formed to hold talks with the Taliban, Shah said the mandate mentions two parties – the government and the Taliban. Thus, the negotiations will be held between the government and Taliban and no third party, he added.
“The Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (K-P) governor is responsible for the affairs of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). We will take his help to come up with more ways to hold talks with militants,” maintained Shah.
Referring to previous agreements between the government and Taliban, he claimed the Shakai agreement was one-sided. It had the consent of K-P Corps Commander Safdar Hussain, but not of the K-P governor at the time, Iftikhar Hussain – and because of that it failed.
The Sararogha agreement, however, was successful because it had the consensus of both the corps commander and the governor, he added.
Shah also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for his absence from the all-parties conference (APC). He said all tribesmen condemn Khan’s non-participation in the APC and are surprised that he talked against drone attacks and launched a peace march to Waziristan, but preferred to distance himself when the whole nation came together.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2013.