Despite stamping out Taliban insurgency in the Swat Valley about two years ago, the Pakistan Army is delaying steps for a possible civilian takeover of the area.
The population of Swat is tired of the overt military presence and the numerous checkpoints, which hinder their free movement.
“The army did a lot for us. They cleared roads, rebuilt bridges, gave us food rations, while the government was all promises and didn’t give us a single penny,” the Daily Times quoted a businessman Mohammed Iqbal, as saying.
Sardar Ali, 30, a worker, said though checkpoint practices had eased in recent months, he was still fed up with the army presence in the area.
About 30,000 Pakistan troops had waged a battle in 2009 against Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah, who had terrorised people with a campaign of beheadings, violence and attacks on girls’ schools.
Though the army gained control of the region by July 2009, over 25,000 soldiers are deployed in Swat even after two years.