Islamabad: Hundreds of Islamic scholars in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan tribal region have declared suicide bombings as unlawful and asked all foreign militants hiding in the area to stop such attacks.
About 300 religious scholars unanimously agreed on the move to declare suicide attacks as "haram" or forbidden by Islam and condemned all forms of terrorist activities in North Waziristan Agency.
The scholars strongly condemned all those involved in recruiting and training suicide bombers. They issued a stern warning to terrorists that such acts would have serious consequences.
The meeting of the prominent 'ulema' of North Waziristan Agency was held in the Madrassah Nizamia religious school at Eidak, a town in Mirali area. The school is a leading and respected institution in North Waziristan.
The meeting warned all foreigners to stop their violent activities as they can only live in North Waziristan peacefully according to local customs.
A teenager who was arrested about two months ago after his suicide vest did not explode during an attack on a crowded Sufi shrine in Punjab province later told police that he had been trained in a camp in North Waziristan.
He also revealed that around 300 youths were being trained at a centre in the region and would be sent out for attacks across Pakistan and Afghanistan.
US authorities insist that al-Qaeda and Taliban elements have established numerous centres in North Waziristan for cross-border attacks on foreign and Afghan forces.
Pakistan is under pressure from the US to launch a military operation against militants in North Waziristan, but Islamabad says it has no resources for such an offensive and that its troops are already engaged in other tribal regions.
Pakistani media recently reported that the army has chalked out a strategy to separate violent extremists from tribesmen as the first step to weaken the militants.
A decree from the Islamic scholars of Waziristan may be a step towards achieving the goal of isolating the extremists.
Against the backdrop of the prevailing insecurity in North Waziristan Agency, the pronouncements by the ulema of the region are historic and very significant.