An eminent tribal leader of South Waziristan Agency Nek Muhammad and his five companions were killed in a missile attack on their hide-out near Wana on Thursday night. He was laid to rest in his ancestral village Kaloosha on Friday.

Nek Muhammad was a pro-Taliban tribal leader, who had shot to prominence in the wake of Shakai accord between Pak Army and the Wazir Tribes under which amnesty was granted to tribesmen and foreign militants were supposed to surrender and register with the Political Agent.

He, however, failed to fulfill his obligation as a signatory to the accord and opted to confront the Pak Army. The Government of Pakistan, however pursued a reconciliatory posture and made every effort to convince him to respect the accord and hand over the foreign militants living in Wana under his protection.

Tribal Jirgas [traditional assemblage], Lashkars and Political reconciliatory missions were dispatched to persuade him of the need to respect the accord and to make the foreign militants surrender and register themselves. He, however, remained adamant on the pretext that Pakistan is doing all this at the behest of the United States.

The Pak Army, nevertheless, launched a military operation in the area after its check posts came under attack a couple of weeks ago, as a result of which some FC jawans were martyred. The rocket attack on Nek Muhammad’s hide-out on Thursday night was apparently part of the same operation.

The fact is that Pakistan has pursued a prolonged reconciliatory process in South Waziristan Agency to avoid bloodshed. No Government worth the name can, however, be expected to tolerate perpetual violation of its writ and permit a State within the State.

It’s encouraging that the military spokesman, Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan has reiterated that the offer of amnesty can be renewed to all including foreign militants, who surrender to the Pak Army and register themselves with the Political authorities.

There is, therefore, still time for the militants and their facilitators to accept the offer and avoid bloodshed. Pakistan wants to resolve the issue peacefully and it is hoped that sanity will dawn on the tribesmen and militants before it is too late. It cannot obviously allow foreign militants to use Pakistani soil for their terrorist activities inside the country and beyond its borders.