MINGORA, Aug 23: The army has rehabilitated 60 more former militants after they renounced militancy and underwent a three months training in different trades at the ‘Mishal centre for de-radicalisation’ in Phetaam area of Swat.
The 17 Division of Pakistan Army organised a ceremony here on Friday to mark the rehabilitation of the militants, where General Officer Commanding of Malakand division Major General Sanaullah Niazi, civil and military officials and local elders were in attendance.
Commissioner of Malakand division Mohammad Akbar Khan was the chief guest on the occasion.
The former militants mostly belonged to Swat, Dir, Swabi, Malakand and Nowshera.
Usman Ali, 36, a resident of Charbagh, told Dawn that he had renounced militancy for good and received three months training in tailoring to earn his livelihood.
Said Mohammad, 20, a resident of Rahimabad near Mingora city, said he had learned tailoring and felt the change in his life.
“I will serve my country as a good citizen” he said.
Another resident of Rahimabad, Imran, 21, said he had learned how make shawls.
Shafiullah, 31, a former militant belonging to Deehrai area of Kabal tehsil, said he would begin a new life.
“Apart from being trained in welding profession, I learnt the ways and means to spend life as a good citizen,” he said.
Ali Mohammad, 53, a resident of Charbagh, said he’d realised his mistake to take up arms against the state and would try his best to educate his sons and daughters so that they could serve the country.
Addressing the ceremony, Malakand division commissioner Akbar Khan said the army had defeated militancy in the area through its operation ‘Rah-i-Rast’ and that the victory had become possible after rendering a lot of sacrifices by the army personnel.
He said there was peace and stability in Malakand division and the people and the government should work together for peace and harmony in the country.
Mr Khan said the government, army and public should continue their joint efforts for de-radicalisation of the society and that the provincial government provided necessary funds for the de-radicalisation programme meant to make former militants good citizens.
Later, the former militants presented tableaus, sang national songs and delivered speeches.
There followed distribution of certificates to them by the chief guest.
According to a news release issued on the occasion, the army has begun a de-radicalisation programme for 1,196 local people arrested for involvement in militancy.
Of them, 1,189 have undergone a three months training in various fields before reintegrating with the society.