PHC stops army pullout from Malakand, Swat
18 September, 2013
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday stopped the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government from withdrawing army from Malakand, Swat and Dir divisions.
PHC's Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan noted that army has been deployed in these areas for many years to restore peace, and its withdrawal would create a vacuum there. He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government could face trouble if terrorists came back to these areas. The court ordered the provincial government to consult the Interior Ministry and army and take them into confidence to maintain law and order in the areas of the province that had suffered from terrorism in the past.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak had approved, in principle, the gradual withdrawal of army from Malakand Division. Khattak had said that in the initial stage security forces will be withdrawn from Shangla and Buner districts next month. In the second phase the troops would be pulled out from Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir districts and other parts of Malakand Division. The chief minister said the security forces have rendered numerous sacrifices in the war against terror in Malakand Division and the entire nation is proud of them.
He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government wants to resolve all issues through talks and it has been successful in maintaining the writ of the government. Khattak said that PTI chief Imran Khan fully supported the All-Parties Conference, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will cooperate with the federation in this regard.
The citizens welcomed the Peshawar High Court's verdict of not recalling army from embattled Malakand Division, Upper Dir. Meanwhile, a search operation in the union council continues. The curfew continued for the third consecutive day. It was imposed following the roadside bomb explosion on September 15 which killed Major General Sanaullah Khan and two other army men in union council of Shahi Kot. The curfew has been causing several problems for the locals and could lead to a shortage of commodities.
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani had on Monday reiterated army's resolve and unflinching commitment to fighting the menace of terrorism, in accordance with the will of the nation and at any cost. He vowed to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators of cowardly acts of terrorism to justice. While reaffirming army's support to the political process, the COAS also said that terrorists will not be allowed to take advantage of it. He emphasised again that while "it is understandable to give peace a chance through a political process but no one should have any misgivings that we would let terrorists coerce us into accepting their terms. Army has the ability and the will to take the fight to the terrorists".
Gen Kayani lauded the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs and injured of the four cowardly acts of terrorism which took place in FATA, during last two days. The COAS paid rich tributes to the exemplary courage, total commitment to duty and the demonstration of highest leadership qualities by Major General Sanaullah Khan. He said the general officer has set a towering example of leading from the front which is a hallmark of leadership in Pakistan Army. Acknowledging General Khan's ultimate sacrifice for the motherland, the army chief said we all salute his bravery. He also pledged to stand with the families of shuhada and the injured. "Pakistani nation and army will remain indebted to the sacrifices of their soldiers," he said.