May 7, 2009 5:40:54 pm
Unleashing an all-out war on the Taliban in Swat,Pakistani fighter jets pounded militant positions in the restive valley,where a son of a pro-Taliban cleric who negotiated a controversial peace deal was killed in shelling by troops.
As the government said there will be no more negotiations with the Taliban in the valley and they will be dealt with sternly,security forces targeted militants holed up in Malam Jabba,Matta and Khawaza Khela of Swat.
Thousands of panic-stricken civilians streamed out of the area as fighting intensified. Pakistan government estimates that about 500,000 people could be displaced due to the escalating military operations in the troubled region. About 40,000 people have already fled the valley.
Chairing a meeting of his cabinet on Wednesday,Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sent out a “clear message” that the militants will be “crushed with full force” and not given any relaxation as peace had not been restored even after the government implemented Shariah or Islamic law in Swat.
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“The writ of the government will be established without listening to these elements from now onwards,” he said. The tough talking by Gilani came as US President Barack Obama,hosting a trilateral summit,secured a fresh pledge from leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan to “dismantle,disrupt and defeat” the al-Qaeda and Taliban.
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