Pakistani Taliban's Punjab wing to give up arms

Pakistani Taliban's "Punjabi Taliban" faction Saturday announced it is giving up militancy permanently and vowed to start welfare work in the country, media reported.

IANS| Last Updated: Sep 13, 2014, 23:44 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistani Taliban's "Punjabi Taliban" faction Saturday announced it is giving up militancy permanently and vowed to start welfare work in the country, media reported.

The militant wing distributed a pamphlet in the northwestern parts of the country in which its leader Asmatullah Muawiya announced that they would not take part in militant activities in Pakistan any more, Xinhua reported citing the local media report.

Muawiya said they have decided to give up militancy and to surrender their arms.

The eastern Punjab province Taliban chief also urged other Taliban leaders and fighters to follow their precedent to lay down arms and come to the negotiation table to resolve their issues.

Muawiya said they are abandoning the armed struggle to start preaching and do welfare work in the country, especially in the flood-hit areas.

Rustam Shah Mohmand, an analyst, said that Punjabi Taliban's decision would be a big blow to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan( TTP) because the majority of the hardcore fighters were coming from the province.

There was no response from government officials.

The announcement from the faction came at a time when Pakistan's armed forces are conducting their operation successfully against the militants in the northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan.

According to the Pakistan Army, more than 1,000 terrorists have been killed and dozens of others arrested, while a number of hideouts and command and control centres of the militants have been destroyed so far in the operation.

In August last year, the TTP central committee dismissed Punjab faction chief Muawiya from his post for welcoming the talks offer by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In response to the TTP's decision, Punjabi Taliban rejected the central council decision by saying that their group has its own entity.

The group was accused by police of attacking the Sri Lankan cricket team in the country's eastern city of Lahore in March, 2009, but the group never claimed responsibility for the attack.