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Pak plans thrust against NWFP militants

world Updated: Jun 27, 2008 22:50 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met President Musharraf ahead of a possible large-scale military operation in the troubled North West Frontier Province on Friday. The government has hinted at a preemptive clean-up operation against Islamic militants who they fear may attack provincial capital, Peshawar.

Interior secretary Kamal Shah described violence in the past week as “worrisome,” but said the government was in control and planning some measures.

Rumours that Governor Rule will be imposed in the NWFP as an emergency measure against militants who authorities believe are lodged in strategic locations around the provincial capital.

Despite claims that things were under control, the NWFP and the adjoining tribal areas have witnessed heavy violence in recent days. Thirty people died earlier this week in fighting between government-backed tribals and militants aligned with the Baitullah Mehsud group.

Another four were killed in clashes in the NWFP's Swat valley, where Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants attacked government offices, girls schools and a resort.

Maulana Fazulullah, the group's cleric, claimed that it had control of strategic parts of Swat and intends to take complete control of the area.

While the provincial government of the NWFP on Thursday said that it reached an agreement with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and will release some prisoners on bail, other government officials are wary of the agreements prospect for success.