Locals urged to reopen shops in strife-torn Pak region | india | Hindustan Times
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Locals urged to reopen shops in strife-torn Pak region

The Pakistan government hopes to restore a sense of normalcy in the strife-torn North Waziristan region.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 13:44 IST
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The government was urging shop owners in a remote tribal region of Pakistan to reopen on Tuesday as security forces mopped up following major clashes that killed an estimated 100 Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in recent days.

The Pakistan government was hoping to restore a sense of normalcy in the North Waziristan region, where security forces have battled militants starting Saturday in the region's worst violence in two years and placed its main town, Miran Shah, under indefinite curfew.

Thousands of residents fled the town before the fighting began to ebb yesterday. Security forces fired into nearby hills last night, apparently targeting the militants, but there was no return fire, local resident Shirin Khan said.

A top government regional administrator, Syed Zaheerul Islam, planned to meet with tribal elders later today to persuade shop owners in Miran Shah to reopen their doors, said tribal elder Malik Mumtaz Khan, who will be attending the meeting.

Elders from three main tribes, who own most of the businesses in Miran Shah, have been invited to the meeting with Islam, Khan said.

Journalists have been barred from Miran Shah, the scene of most of the fighting that broke out Saturday.

Army spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said yesterday that based on intelligence reports and questioning of wounded and arrested militants, more than 100 militants might have died.

He added that security forces had yet to regain control of all compounds in Miran Shah, so he couldn't give an exact death toll.