LAHORE - The outlawed TTP, once controlling all the activities in the tribal areas, is no more in a position to halt or undermine relief work in quake-hit regions, sources close to the militant group told The Nation yesterday.

Pakistani Taliban, because of their forced influence in the tribal areas, had played a key role in controlling the relief activities after the 2005 earthquake. They either diverted the relief goods to their sub-groups or used many of the relief items for themselves. Many of the relief items were sold by TTP groups to the local traders who made a lot of money by selling the same in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and other cities of the country.

Sources said the fear of TTP still haunts the people living in the tribal areas, but the Taliban who were either killed or fled to Afghanistan because of the operation Zarb-e-Azb could not pose any threat to the current relief actions.

“The defunct TTP can pose a threat to the relief action if it manages to infiltrate into Pakistan from Afghanistan,” they added. The 8.1 quake hit the other day Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Mohmand Agency, Bajaur Agency and Khyber Agency. In Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) of Khyber Puktunkhwa, the quake hit Malakand Agency, Dir Chitral and Swat. The areas were once under the influence of TTP. The current chief of the TTP, Mullah Fazlullah, was driven out of Swat, the epicenter of the Taliban in PATA, as a result of Rah-e-Raast, the second operation, to cleanse the areas of the militants. The militants from the Fata region are being eliminated under the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation.

Javed Ibrahim Paracha who was regarded as part of Afghan Taliban movement and close to Pakistani Taliban told The Nation from tribal areas, “The Pakistani Taliban cannot halt or control the relief activities in the quake-hit areas as the Zarb-e-Azb operation either decimated their ranks or forced them to flee the tribal belt.” “TTP is carrying out attacks from Afghanistan, but the directions to the Afghan Taliban concerning relief actions will also halt the possible attacks by Pakistani Taliban,” Paracha added.

He said, “The Pata region is now under the watchful eye of one brigade of army with its headquarters in Swat. The Maliks and political administration are also assisting the military.”

A former Taliban commander of Bajaur Agency told the paper, seeking anonymity, that he doesn’t see his ex-colleagues a threat to the relief activities.

The local militant networks had been eliminated by Zarb-e-Azb and other military operations which forced many of his associates to surrender, he added.