Pakistani Taliban threatens suicide attacks on peace marchers
A deadly Pakistani Taliban group Saturday threatened suicide attacks on the participants of an anti- US drone strikes march heading to the country's South Waziristan tribal region.
Cricketer-turned politician, Imran Khan is leading the marchers in hundreds of vehicles, who left Islamabad Saturday morning and is scheduled to reach the tribal region on Sunday.
Khan, who heads Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) or Justice Movement, accused the government of creating problems for the marchers and said that the Taliban will not attack the march.
But a Pakistani Taliban group distributed a pamphlet in parts of Waziristan and adjoining areas, warning of attacks on the marchers. Copies of the pamphlets have also been sent to the media persons.
"We request the people of Waziristan not to support the gangs of Jews and Christians otherwise their fate will be horrible. We, the Tehrik-e-Taliban, will greet them with suicide attacks," the Taliban pamphlet said.
The Urdu-language pamphlet was issued by the Taliban Punjab province chapter, which is considered the deadliest militant group. The group is considered very close to al-Qaeda and is mainly blamed for major attacks on security installations in Pakistan.
The group is consisted of former members of the banned extremist Sunni groups 'Lashkar-e-Jhangvi' and 'Sipah-e-Sahaba'.
The group claimed that Americans and other Westerners are taking part in the march to make the people of Waziristan on the notion of peace. It also accused the Western media of pursuing the agenda of anti-Islam forces. "They all are out of Islam. They neither respect Islamic values nor our traditions," the pamphlet said.
"Islam calls upon the women to observe veil. But the gangs of Jews and Christians are forcing us to take harsh steps against them," Taliban said.
An earlier statement from the main Taliban faction opposed what it called the politically-motivated march but did not threaten the marchers.
Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said that they would not provide protection to the march as was earlier reported by the local media. The Taliban spokesman also said Imran Khan has organized it for political motives and that he has no sympathy with the people of Waziristan.
The Interior Ministry has warned that Taliban could attack foreigners and the PTI leadership in the march, advising the party to give up the plan.
But Imran said in Islamabad on Saturday that he will proceed to South Waziristan as per plan. He told the media persons, who are accompanying him, that he hopes the government will not intervene.
"The government should support my peace march as it is against the American drone strikes if the government opposes these attacks, " he said. He said that the march will be stopped if the government created hurdles in its way.