Pakistan tribesmen mark 'black day' for late warlord

AFP , Saturday 5 Jan 2013

Pakistani Mullah Nazir, killed by US drone strike last week, seen as 'a patriot' whose death was 'an effort to destroy peace in the region'

Mullah Nazir
Mulla Nazir, who was killed by a US drone strike (Photo: Reuters)

Thousands of Pakistani tribesmen on Saturday protested the killing of warlord Mullah Nazir and hoisted black flags to mark his death, officials said.

The protesters also roundly condemned US drone strikes, and demanded Islamabad summon the US ambassador and lodge an official protest over the militant commander's killing this week.

"All shops were closed in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan tribal district, and the tribesmen protested against the killing of warlord Mullah Nazir," Amir Nawaz, a local administration official, told AFP.

Nazir, killed late Wednesday in a US drone strike, was the main militant leader in the tribal district of South Waziristan, where he plotted attacks on US and NATO troops and reportedly sheltered Al-Qaeda operatives.

"More than 3,000 tribesmen, carrying black flags, later marched towards Azam Warsak, around seven kilometres (four miles) west of Wana and passed a resolution against the US," Nawaz said.

Another security official said the protester's resolution termed Nazir's killing as an effort to destroy peace in the region.

"Mullah Nazir was not a terrorist, he was a patriot Pakistani and was fighting a war for independence," the resolution said.

The statement added that Pakistan must protest against the killing and work to end drone strikes.

The tribesmen, belonging to Wazir and Sulemankhel tribes, also vowed to continue Nazir's mission, saying his killing would not bring an end to the conflict.

A close associate of Nazir and militant commander who goes by the name Salahuddin Ayubi was appointed his successor on Friday.

Nazir had made a peace deal with Islamabad, which congratulated him for expelling Uzbeks from South Waziristan, but had testy relations with local Taliban forces.

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