Islamabad, April 28 (Inditop) At least 70 militants were killed by the security forces while nearly 450 terrorists were holed up in Buner area, Pakistan’s interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said Tuesday, adding “we will not tolerate them anymore”.
Malik told reporters at least 70 militants had been killed in the Dir operation so far, while 450 others were still present in Buner, Geo TV reported.
On the possibility of nuclear weapons falling in Taliban hands, Malik said Pakistan’s nuclear assets were safe.
He said that Lower Dir was under the complete control of security forces. However, the extremists were still active in Buner district, Dawn reported.
Addressing a seminar, Malik categorised the Taliban elements, who were active in Buner and Lower Dir as extremists.
He said: “We will not tolerate them anymore.”
He said there has been an attack on the Frontier Constabulary in the past 24 hours and there have been reports of shops being looted.
“Some of the Taliban were forcing the villagers to join them,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that all efforts are being made to contain the activities of these extremists who are threatening the villagers about imposing their system by force.
He warned: “No one will be allowed to challenge the writ of the government.”
He reiterated that if peace was not restored in the region, the Swat peace agreement would be scrapped.
The fresh offensive by the security forces has come as Western governments, including that of the US, raised serious concerns about the peace pact in the north-western Swat region and accused the nuclear-armed country of abdicating to the Taliban.
Sufi Mohammed’s Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi and the NWFP government Feb 16 inked a controversial peace deal under which Sharia laws would be imposed in the Malakand division in return for the Taliban laying down their arms.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had approved the imposition of Islamic sharia law in the Malakand division and Swat April 13, nearly two months after hardline cleric Sufi Mohammad brokered a peace deal between the regional government and the rebel.
Although the government began setting up sharia courts, the emboldened militants refused to disarm and instead expanded their control over Swat’s neighbouring districts of Buner and Shangla.