By Azhar Masood
ISLAMABAD: A high profile six member US Congressmen delegation, visited South Waziristan,during recent visit to Pakistan on March 29. During more than five hour long visit they were briefed about the ongoing military operation against Baitullah Mehsud and his men, sources from the volatile troubled agency, a local journalist Iftkhar Mashwani told ‘Pakistan Times Thursday.
During the visit the US Senators called on pro-talibans and neutral tribal chieftains and explained the US policies regarding tribal areas.The pro-talibans tribal chieftains Jirga were headed by JUI(F),Senator Moullana Saleh Shah.According to the sources the Senators said that United State is fully aware of the problems of the tribesmen and will take solid steps to improve the living conditions of the people of the area and provide them opportunities for social and economic development.
The visit of US congressional delegation was not pre-arranged and it was top secret visit to South Waziristan.The purpose of the visit was to know the realities of the ongoing military operations in the area against the outlaws guerrilla fighters(talibans) under Baithullah Mehsud ,a tribal malik made this disclosure on condition of anonymity.
Adding that,”i dont know, how they reached the area, but i confirmed know that they were brought and were shown few burnt villages which include Kotkai ,Spinkai Raghzai and some others effected villages”.Some others tribal chieftains who were brought to meet the US Senators do confirm the news,however, government officials were reluctant to confirm the US Senetors visit openly.
The high profile US lawmakers delegation who were a part of this secret visit ,comprised of JOHN TIEMEY, KIETH ELISON.,JIM MORAN , BETTYMCCOLLUM , MAURINE HINCHEY and BARBARA CUBIN.
According to tribal sources,the visit was coordinated by a pro-taliban senator from South Waziristan, Senator Moullana Saleh Shah , who provided security clearance from taliban side, after which the US delegates were allowed to see and visit the troubled areas.Commenting on the story , a tribal chieftain who asked unanimity said ,”Senator Saleh Shah asked a few Maliks to get ready for a surprise meeting with some high officials and we went with him ,where he brought us to meet US congress delegation.”However Senator Saleh Shah was tried to contact for comments on the visit by ,said Iftkhar Mashwani ,adding, but he was unable to have its comments because of his nonavailability on phone.