Islamabad: Twenty-three tribal elders
have been detained by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan after they
attended a recent function addressed by army chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani, according to a media report on Saturday.
The whereabouts of the elders from the Mehsud tribe is
Militants affiliated to local Taliban chief Hakimullah
Mehsud claimed they had been detained for attending the army
chief’s function in South Waziristan earlier this month, The
News daily reported.
The Taliban warned that the elders would be punished
and may be given the "death penalty" for welcoming military
commanders, supporting the government and accepting relief
goods meant for Mehsud families displaced by fighting in the
region, the report said.
There was no official word on the elders, who have
been missing for the past week.
All the elders belong to Makeen sub-division in South
Waziristan and had been living in North Waziristan after being
displaced from their homes when the army launched an operation
against the Taliban last year.
The elders attended a function that was organised when
Gen Kayani and the air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Rao
Qamar Suleman, visited Makeen on December 7 to review
The elders had announced that they would back the
government`s efforts to restore peace in the area.
This apparently angered the militants, who summoned
the elders for a meeting in South Waziristan.
The elders left North Waziristan a week ago and had
not returned since then, the report said.
The Taliban have repeatedly targeted pro-government
tribal elders and warned people displaced by fighting not to
accept aid from the authorities.