`Foreign hands` fomenting NW unrest: Pak Gen
Last Updated: Monday, January 10, 2011, 20:31
Peshawar: A Pakistan Army general on Sunday blamed "foreign hands" for the unrest in the country's northwest, saying authorities had gathered credible evidence of external interference in the restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik, the commander of the Peshawar Corps, said: "We have credible evidence of the involvement of foreign hands in the restive tribal regions along the Afghan border and we presented the same to superior authorities for necessary action".

Malik, who was talking to the media on the sidelines of a seminar at the Corps Headquarters here, contended that "foreign hands are helping anti-state elements to destabilise Pakistan's tribal regions for their vested interests".

He did not identify the "foreign hands". Asked about recent incidents of terrorism in the Mohmand Agency, Malik said there were "some pockets where miscreants take the law into their hands" and action is being taken against them.

The terrorists enter Pakistan through the western border to disturb law and order in the tribal areas and then return to war-torn Afghanistan, he said.

Work on road projects worth USD 2.5 million is underway in South Waziristan Agency and will be completed by June, Malik said.

A strategic corridor linking South Waziristan with Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and Karachi as well as Afghanistan is being established and this will spur economic activities in the tribal region, he added.

The seminar on the theme "Human Rights Laws and Rules of Engagements" was organised by army as part of its education and capacity-building programmes for officers and soldiers.

Malik claimed some Western organisations and the foreign media are behind "malicious and baseless" propaganda about rights violations to undermine the successes in the war against terror.

"This malicious propaganda by a section of the western media and NGOs about human rights violations during operations against terrorists and militants is an attempt to undermine the unprecedented successes of our security forces," he said.

He said elements are resorting to such gimmicks to "carry forward their vested agenda and demoralise our people".

The army accords high priority to human rights laws and international conventions, he added.

In his inaugural address at the seminar, Malik said the army's operations were not against any sect, tribe or people and strict action is being taken against those who take law into their hands and challenge the government's writ.

Extra care is being taken to avoid collateral damage in military operations, he said.

Taliban militants have violated human rights laws and conventions by publicly beheading innocent people in the Swat valley, he said.


First Published: Monday, January 10, 2011, 20:31

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