Gilani, Army Chief make unannounced visit to Swat

Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 - 15:34

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday made
an unannounced visit to the restive Swat valley where the
troops are engaged in flushing out the Taliban militants.

A top level review of the security situation and
return back of the displaced people uprooted by insurgency was
the highlight of the visit, TV channels quoted officials as
saying.

This was Gilani`s first visit to the region since he
called in the Army in early May to eliminate the Taliban after
after a peace deal with them in Swat fell through.

The visit also assumes significance with reports of
Army being on the verge of wrapping up of more than seven week
old operation. Gilani was accompanied on the tour by Punjab
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharief.

Gilani was received in Mingora, the main city in Swat
district, by NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti and
Governor Owais Ghani. Shortly after his arrival, Gilani
chaired a meeting at which he was briefed on the security
situation and the repatriation of thousands of displaced
people by Army officials.

The premier also visited a girls` school at Saidu
Sharief, a city where the military has a sizeable presence.
The Taliban, who claimed educating girls was "un-Islamic", had
burnt or blown up nearly 200 girls` schools across Swat.
Later, the Prime Minister addressed a public
gathering.

The Army claims it has killed nearly 1,800 militants
in operations against the Taliban in Buner, Dir and Swat
districts. Over 160 security personnel have also died in the
fighting.

However, none of the senior Taliban commanders in
Swat, including Maulana Fazlullah, have been captured or
killed so far. Though Gilani recently said the objectives of
the military operations in Swat had been achieved, fighting
has flared amidst the return of the displaced people to their
homes.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, August 10, 2009 - 15:34

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