Islamabad: Suspected Taliban fighters
on Sunday shot dead a pro-government tribal elder involved in
efforts to repatriate tribesmen who had fled their homes in
northwest Pakistan due to fighting between militants and
The militants, who were riding a motorcycle, shot
tribal elder Malik Arsala Khan in the crowded main market of
Tank district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, police officer
Shah Nawaz Khan said.
The attackers fled after the incident.
Malik Arsala Khan was appointed chief of a "peace
committee" or pro-government militia four months ago, when the
government began repatriating internally displaced persons to
the restive South Waziristan Agency.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Officials said nearly 200 tribal elders have been
killed by Taliban militants over the past five years in South
Waziristan Agency, which is located near Tank district.
The Taliban have warned tribal elders and government-
backed `lashkars` or militias against bringing people back to
areas where the army is conducting operations against
The government and security forces have stepped up
efforts to repatriate displaced people to areas that have been
cleared of the Taliban after military operations.
Thousands of people fled homes when security forces
launched a major operation against the Taliban in South
Waziristan in October 2009.
The army subsequently declared victory over the
militants in South Waziristan, the birthplace of the
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, early last year.
Recent attacks on security forces have raised fears
about the presence of militants in some parts of the tribal
The Taliban have said they will continue their attacks
on security forces.