Pushing Forward with the Bajaur Accord

Pakistan is still willing to negotiate despite the fact that Faqir Mohammed has called for jihad against Pakistan and the West, and the downfall of Musharraf

Pakistanis protest against an attack on tribal area madrassa, Islamabad, Pakistan. AP Photo. Click image to view.

The Pakistani military continues its cordon of Bajaur agency and portions of neighboring Mohmand Agency after riots broke out near the Bajaur border. Pakistan is preparing for further protests on Wednesday over the destruction of the Taliban and al Qaeda madrassa in Chingai. The provincial assemblies of Balochistan and the Northwest Frontier Province criticized Present Musharraf and the U.S. and “passed resolutions condemning the Bajaur airstrike.”

In Bajaur agency, Faqir Mohammad’s “Pro-Taliban militants…’executed’ a tribesman for his suspected role in the airstrikes.” Faqir also stated he would “continue to use Pakistan’s soil against infidels.” Faqir hosted a tribal meeting just days before the strike where it was determined that “Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar are ‘heroes of the Muslim world’ and the tribes vowed joint efforts to fight the ‘enemies of peace’ in Bajaur Agency.”

Despite these and a host of anti-western and anti-government statements, as well as known terrorist organizations protesting the attacks and calling for jihad, Northwest Frontier Province governor Jan Orakzai still said a deal in Bajaur is possible. Orakzai has been pushing for an agreement similar to the Waziristan Accord throughout the tribal agencies.

The Pakistani government’s terms of the yet to be signed “Bajaur Accord” are already drawn up. Pakistan’s The News lists the terms, which essentially call for the local tribes to prevent terrorists from living, operating or staging attacks from the region. There is no real enforcement mechanism, as the government is signing the agreement with the pro-Taliban tribes. Note these terms haven’t been agreed to by the Bajaur Taliban.

1) We, the tribes of Mamond in Bajaur agency, undertake in writing that we would neither give refuge to any Pakistani or foreign terrorist or criminal nor establish contacts with them. We undertake to cooperate with the government of Pakistan and the political administration of Bajaur in taking action against local or foreign militants in case information becomes available about presence of suspects in the area.

2) We undertake to accept and follow all decisions and agreements already made or likely to be made at the national and local levels between us and Pakistan government and political administration of Bajaur for maintaining law and order and pursuing development activities.

3) We agree to cooperate with government and non-government organisations and protect the life and property of their members for the sake of Bajaur’s progress and prosperity and for ensuring law and order.

4) We also undertake not to take part in any militant activity or acts of sabotage in or outside Pakistan that would bring a bad name to the country.

5) As patriotic Pakistanis, we would not hesitate to offer sacrifices for the country, whenever called upon to do so by the government of Pakistan and the political administration of Bajaur.

The tribes would “pay [a] fine of Rs 5 million (about $82,500) in case of violation of the undertaking and accept other forms of punishment, which include demolition of home of the accused and expulsion from the area.”

The News further reports Faqir Mohammed “still wanted to conclude a peace agreement with the authorities and contribute his bit for a peaceful and prosperous Bajaur” and “his men would not be drawn into a fight with the Pakistan Army or other national institutions.” On Tuesday, Faqir called Musharraf an “American agent, killing innocent people at the US behest” and said the “elimination of Musharraf is a must to restore peace.”

Faqir stated he was not privy to the contents of the government’s proposed accord, and wasn’t necessarily opposed to the five items stated. “We told mediators that we wanted a peace agreement on the lines of the one signed in North Waziristan,” said Faqir. It certainly has worked out quite well for the Taliban and al Qaeda in North Waziristan, where the opposition is slaughtered, terrorist training camps exist, “foreigners’ abound and the Taliban set up offices to administer the region.

Faqir wants the sweat heart deal, and likely will get it. Signing a ‘peace agreement’ will only reflect the reality of the situation on the ground. Faqir Mohammed is the prime example: wanted for sheltering Ayman al-Zawahiri during the January 2006 strike in Damadola, the Pakistani government has been unable to arrest him. Yet Faqir is readily available to the press and political figures in the Taliban and al Qaeda supporting Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. Faqir, like the rest of the Taliban in Bajaur, operate in the open, beyond the reach of the Pakistani government. But Pakistan’s signing of the Bajaur Accord, like the Waziristan Accord, signals it has given up the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban within its own territory. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban will only be emboldened by such abject surrender.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

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