The News International Pakistan  
Friday February 11, 2005-- Muharram 01, 1426 A.H.
ISSN 1563-9479

Daily Edition

Weekly Editions
News on Sunday
Biz/Finance Rev

Other Editions
Special Issues
Investor's J.

Send Greetings!
Jang Community
Viewer's Forum
Fashion Archive
Prize Bonds
Forex- Bank
Forex - Open

Quick Links
Home Page
Daily Jang
Ad. Tariff

Email us
Editor Internet
Ad Enquiry

Top Stories - The News International, Pakistan

Wana militants deny being under al-Qaeda debt
By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Militants in Wana who have made peace with the government are claiming that they have been paid only Rs 4.2 million of the promised amount of Rs 90 million to rebuild homes demolished during the military operations.

Haji Mohammad Omar, former commander of the tribal militants and successor to the late Nek Mohammad, also contested a statement by Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Safdar Hussain that they had demanded money from the government to repay money they owed to al-Qaeda. "We neither made such a demand nor were we paid Rs 50 million. We didn’t owe any money to al-Qaeda people or to foreign militants. Besides, there is no al-Qaeda in South Waziristan," he told The News in a phone call from his village Kalooshah near Wana.

Haji Omar was one of the five Ahmadzai Wazir tribal militants who a few months ago concluded a peace agreement with the government after accepting an offer of amnesty in return for a pledge to renounce militancy and live in peace. The other four were his brother Haji Sharif, Javed Khan Karmazkhel, Maulvi Mohammad Abbas and Maulvi Abdul Aziz.

Talking to reporters, Corps Commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain had said a few days ago that the Wana militants had demanded Rs 170 million to repay loans advanced to them by al-Qaeda people but had settled for Rs 50 million during the peace negotiations with government emissaries. However, he claimed he wasn’t aware if the money was paid to the militants as he referred their demand to the Governor of NWFP.

Haji Omar narrated an entirely different story. There was no way to verify his version of events even though he insisted that he was telling the truth. According to him, retired Colonel Inamullah Wazir and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials who negotiated with him and the other four militants on behalf of the government paid them Rs 4.2 million in cash. "Each of us received around Rs 800,000. My brother Haji Sharif and myself got a total of Rs 1.6 million while our third brother Noor Islam, who wasn’t part of the peace agreement, didn’t receive any money. This amount was far less than the losses we incurred as a result of the damage suffered by our apple orchards and tubewells and demolition of our four family houses plus a hospital in Kalooshah that alone was worth more than Rs 4 million," he explained.

Haji Omar recalled that Corps Commander Peshawar had promised on the occasion of the Shakai agreement in April 2004 that the tribesmen whose homes were demolished or damaged during the military operations would be paid Rs 90 million as compensation. "That amount hasn’t been paid. Though it was only a rough estimate of the losses suffered by us and less than our calculations at that point of time, the government hasn’t paid even that amount," he stressed.

In Haji Omar’s view, their losses amounted to not less than Rs 150 million or even up to Rs 170 million. He disclosed that four government officials including an engineer were presently surveying their demolished homes, agricultural land, tubewells and other properties in Kalooshah and other villages including Shakai to assess the damage and to calculate losses. "Three of our men accompany the government team and there is work is almost complete. They painstakingly make measurements on the ground to work out the correct costs of buildings and land and we are hoping their survey would provide accurate figures of our monetary loss," he said.

Haji Omar reminded that the government was also required to compensate the families of tribes people who were killed and wounded in the military operations and aerial bombing. "The government promised compensation at the rate of Rs 800,000 each for the dead and Rs 300,000 for every injured person. According to our calculations, 55 persons were killed and around 150 sustained injuries in the military operations," he informed.

Arguing that the militants were abiding by the peace agreement and had not fired a single shot since it came into force, Haji Omar complained that the government had been slow to compensate those who suffered human and material losses in the military operations.

He also pointed out that the military has yet to withdraw soldiers manning two checkpoints at Zam Cheena and Neeza Naray in the Wana area and replace them with Frontier Corps militiamen despite its promise to do so under the peace agreement. He added that seven tribesmen were still behind the bars even though 400 others were freed after the signing of the Wana agreement.