Pakistan army to hold fire in Swat 2009-02-17 15:31:52   Print

Special report: Pakistani Situation

    ISLAMABAD, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's military Tuesday vowed to hold fire and respect a controversial agreement signed between the provincial government and militants to enforce the Islamic law in the violence-torn Swat valley.

    "The army works on the government's orders. The government has given it orders to hold fire. The army will not take any offensive action," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said.

    Abbas was quoted by the private Geo TV as saying that the army would "certainly" respect the agreement signed Monday between ministers of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and a pro-Taliban but relatively moderate cleric, Soofi Mohammad.

    "The army went there (Swat) at the request of the government. Whenever the government feels normalcy has been restored and the writ of government has been re-established, it will leave," said Abbas.

    On Sunday, Taliban in Pakistan's insurgency-hit Swat valley announced a 10-day ceasefire to facilitate negotiations between the NWFP government the group led by Mohammad.

    "We are announcing a 10-day ceasefire," said Muslim Khan, spokesman for the Swat Taliban in Pakistan's northwest.

    Khan said that Taliban would fire in self-defense if the security forces did not stop fighting.

    A three-member delegation of the provincial government in the northwest and Muhammad discussed the demands for the introduction of an Islamic judicial system, known as "Nizam Adal" regulations.

    Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters that Nizam Adal would be introduced in the Malakand division, an area under PATA (Provincial Administered Tribal Areas) to ensure setting-up of courts for speedy trial.

Editor: Xiong Tong
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