Swat deal cleric offers to persuade Taliban to leave Buner

April 25, 2009 1:05 am 

By Rezaul H Laskar

ISLAMABAD, April 24 — As unease grows within Pakistan and abroad over the Taliban spreading its influence, a hardliner cleric who negotiated Swat deal today claimed he would persuade militants to leave the two districts near the federal capital, which they had occupied in the past few days.

Sufi Muhammad, the chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz- e-Sharia Muhammadi, gave the assurance of making Taliban withdraw from Buner and Shangla as authorities bolstered security presence in the two districts of NWFP.

Sufi's offer came during a meeting in Batkhela in Malakand between Taliban leaders Qari Muhammad Khan and Muslim Khan and Malakand Divisional Commissioner Syed Muhammad Javed, TV channels reported.

The meeting with militant commanders came as President Asif Ali Zardari assured the US that his government will not allow anybody to challenge its writ or run a parallel administration in any part of the country.

After the meeting with Taliban, Javed told reporters that Sufi had made an assurance that he would ask the Taliban to leave Buner and Shangla districts and go back to Swat.

Earlier, the provincial government spokesman Iftikhar Hussain issued whta he called was a final appeal to Taliban to go back to Swat Valley and honour the peace deal.

Sufi Muhammad travelled to Buner, located just 100 km from Islamabad, to persuade the Taliban to leave the area. He was accompanied by senior clerics and Taliban commanders, reports said. (PNA/PTI)

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