Pak Army regains control over Swat Valley
shaheen | November 27, 2007 at 08:21 amby
668 views | 12 Recommendations | 2 comments
By Shaheen Buneri
MINGORA: Military claims that it has recaptured some areas in upper Swat valley from the militants of hardliner cleric Maulana Fazlullah, while the cleric has directed his militants to vacate their bunkers and reach the mountainous region of the district.
ISPR Representative in Swat Major Amjad Iqbal told newsmen that operation against the militants had been intensified in the upper swat valley, while adding that "the militants are now on the run".
"We have recaptured Mamdheri, Koza Bandai, Bara Bandai, Charbagh, Guli Bagh, Khwazakhela, and Matta areas from the militants. They are retreating and now we are chasing them in upper parts of the valley", the spokesman informed.
The military spokesman maintained that situation in neighboring Shangla district was also under the control of the security forces and about 80% of the area has been cleared from the armed companions of the firebrand cleric.
"The security forces are moving forward and now the strategically important posts of Najia Top and Asmani Ser are in our control", he added.
Locals say that the militants also set Police station Matta on fire after leaving the place in wake of the heavy bombardment from military helicopters. The police station was occupied by the militants a few weeks back when more than 280 security forces surrendered their arms to them.
Reportedly last night Maulana Fazlullah also addressed his militants on his FM Radio and directed them to vacate the bunkers and reach to the upper hilly regions.
"The heavy bombardment is causing damage to people's lives and properties. Therefore you are directed to vacate your posts without delay and reach the upper hilly areas", Maulana Fazlullah was quoted as saying by locals in Charbagh.
Brigadier ®Javid Iqbal Cheema, spokesman of the Pakistan interior ministry told journalists in Islamabad that military operation in swat had been conducted with the support of the local people.
"The locals and not the security forces killed Khan Khitab, commander of the militants in Matta area of Swat", the spokesman explained.
Locals say that Khan Khitab was just a common person and was working as labourer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A few years back he returned to Matta and become a dreadful Taliban commander.
"He would call himself as the Governor of Matta region and this was he who order slaughtering of four security personnel in Matta last month", Akhtar Shah, a resident of Swat said.
The officials have confirmed that the security forces had also regained control over the Pak-Austrian Institute for Tourism & Hotel Management (PAITHOM) located at Guli Bagh. It is said that lately Maulana Fazlullah had converted the institute into his headquarter and would issue orders to his militants from this place.
Locals have appreciated the military operation against the militants however they have demanded that the government should take concrete steps for thousands of displaced and homeless people both in Swat and Shangla districts.
Reports say that currently 0.6 million people are displaced from their homes in Swat. "These people have no shelter, food and security. Many of them are poor and can't afford to rent a house in the town. Some of them are living either in under construction houses or in bus terminals in Mingora", Niaz Ahmad Khan, a local journalist said.
Long spells of curfew have been observed in Swat and all the commercial and educational institutions are closed in the valley. "About 2200 schools are closed due to the ongoing fighting in the valley", Zia-ud-Din yousafzai, a local educationist told this scribe.
Eye witnesses say that some of the militants of Maulana Fazlullah were seen crossing Swat-Dir border and entering into Dir upper and Bajaur Agency.
Sirajuddin, spokesman of Maulana Fazlullah was tried on his phone for comments about the emerging situation but due to the complete break down of communications system in the valley he could not be contacted.