Pak Taliban declares cease-fire

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Islamabad, Feb.6 : Pakistani Taliban fighters have reportedly announced a ceasefire after months of clashes with security forces and suicide attacks in the country.

Though a military spokesmen is yet to confirm the development, foreign news agency reports said that security officials in South Waziristan have been contact with militants in Pakistan's tribal strongholds

On news agency quoted Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as saying that the leniency exhibited by Islamabad had paved the way for a cease-fire.

The decision to call a ceasefire was taken at a shura chaired by Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, he added.

According to an SATP Assessment Report for 2007-08, vast regions of Pakistan have been subjected to varying degrees of violence and subversion. The report says that a cursory look indicates that the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Balochistan are witnessing large-scale violence and insurrection.

Violence has also surfaced in parts of the Sindh, Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan, bringing these areas under the security scanner.

Islamabad's writ is being challenged vigorously - violently or otherwise - in wide geographical areas, and on a multiplicity of issues. Well over half of the territory presently under Pakistan's control, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir' are currently dominated essentially through military force.

At least 3,599 persons, including 1,523 civilians, 597 security force (SF) personnel and 1,479 militants, were killed in 2007. While militant and terrorist violence has been reported from all the provinces of Pakistan, the worst affected were FATA followed by the NWFP.

There are more than 100,000 soldiers deployed in FATA to confront the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant groups who have created safe havens there. Within FATA, terrorist violence and subversion has had a debilitating effect on the seven agencies of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan.

In the NWFP, at least 1,190 persons, including 459 civilians, 538 militants and 193 SF personnel, were killed in 2007. Significantly, 27 of the 56 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2007 occurred in the NWFP.

The NWFP has crystallized as the core of Islamist militant mobilisation in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, even as Islamist radicals rapidly expand their presence across Pakistan's other provinces, says the SATP report. Twenty two of the 24 districts in the province are presently affected by various levels of militant mobilisation and violence. Further details are awaited.

ANI

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