|06PESHAWAR77||2006-02-16 10:32:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Consulate Peshawar|
1. (SBU) On February 11, the Pashtun-based progressive Awami
National Party (ANP) convened a conference of tribal elders in
Peshawar to assess the situation in the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas (FATA). ANP National President Asfandyar Wali Khan
urged tribal people to rise up against guerilla fighters
conducting attacks into Afghanistan to put out "a burning fire
in Waziristan and Bajaur that could engulf other tribal
agencies." He called for democratic governance and a revamped
judicial code in the FATA. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) In his keynote address, Senator Khan blamed the GOP
and "foreign hands" for sponsoring guerilla elements in the FATA
and linked the FATA's long-term security to that of Afghanistan.
He urged tribal elders to rid the FATA of "guerillas attacking
Afghanistan" not only to prevent the further spilling of Pashtun
blood but to bring lasting peace to the region. He and others
called on the GOP to introduce local government and provincial
assembly representation to promote greater development in the
FATA and to replace a discredited, post-colonial system. Khan
also condemned sectarian and caricature-inspired violence.
(SBU) Text of conference resolutions follows.
3. (SBU) This representative convention of FATA political
activists and tribal elders fully supports the ANP policy of
providing human rights to our people and ridding us of the
oppressive system of political agencies based on the draconian
Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). We want representation in the
provincial assembly. We demand separation of the judiciary from
the executive branch and the extension of the writ of the higher
judiciary to the FATA. We demand the extension of local
government to the FATA. We aim to integrate with our Pashtun
brothers while retaining our internal autonomy. We demand the
extension of the Political Parties Act to the FATA.
4. (SBU) The convention asks the government to rid the tribal
areas of disruptive elements that wish to turn the FATA into a
battle field by espousing extremist ideologies and pitting
Muslims against Muslims.
5. (SBU) Illegal FM radio stations (note: mainly referring to
two stations in Khyber Agency operated by rival imams, the
Afghan cleric still residing there despite GOP pressure to
leave) operated by fundamentalist elements speak volumes on the
incompetence of the concerned authorities. Foreign religious
extremists must not be allowed to use our land for terrorist
activities, as it is detrimental to the interests of the people
of FATA. We demand that the government purge its own
institutions of elements that act in tandem with religious
extremists. We condemn the murder of tribal elders at the hands
of terrorists. We demand an investigation of these murders and
justice for the culprits.
6. (SBU) We condemn certain European newspapers for publishing
objectionable material about the Prophet Mohammed (Peace and
Blessings upon him) and demand an apology from the concerned
quarters. We also express our concern about religious political
parties exploiting the aforementioned issue for narrow partisan
interests. We wish to point out this is an issue over and above
partisan politics. Not only millions of Muslims deplore this
irresponsible act but all democrats and humanists throughout the
world condemn it. Protests against the act reflect the rights of
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the people, but there is no justification for violence.
7. (SBU) The Conference condemns the violent acts of terror
carried out in Hangu during Muharram and expresses our grief
over the loss of human life and property. This tragic incident
has proven once again that the enemies of Pashtuns are still
after our blood. While there was peace on the occasion of
Muharram in the rest of Pakistan, Pashtun blood was spilled in
Hangu. The Provincial government and intelligence agencies have
failed to maintain law and order. They should be held
accountable for their failure. Pashtuns should refrain from
allowing people to live in their midst who pit one Pashtun
against another and who abuse religion.
8. (C) Khan's speech was notable for its reference to the
Taliban as a guerilla enemy that needs to be denied sanctuary or
eliminated in the FATA. GOP and Army statements have generally
avoided such references, instead focusing on Arab and Central
Asian groups as the center of gravity for anti-GOP militancy.
On the reform front, NWFP Governor Rehman continues to block the
ANP's pro-democracy proposals but may soon unveil FCR amendments
that allow for the judicial oversight of enforcement decisions
made by GOP-appointed Political Agents.
9. (C) At an earlier meeting with Consulate officers, ANP
Chief Khan asserted a U.S. role in the Bajaur incident and
warned of possible negative blowback (REF A). Just prior to his
party's conference, Khan met with President Musharraf who
subsequently noted in a public statement that al Qa'ida
operatives were likely eliminated in that incident. Perhaps,
Musharraf's visit, Khan's careful hewing to long-standing ANP
party policy, and the more recent Hangu flare-up (REF B) explain
why the ANP conference did not bring up Bajaur. END COMMENT.