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— File photo
— File photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced on Saturday that withdrawal of troops from Malakand division would begin next month and the civil administration would take over control of the area.

Shiraz Paracha, spokesman for Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, said the withdrawal could begin in mid-October.

In the first phase, troops would be pulled out from Buner and Shangla districts. The spokesman said the chief minister had approved the plan and ‘everybody’ had been consulted.

The announcement comes at a time when the federal government is preparing to launch peace talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the light of decisions of an all-party conference.

The army was called out by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government in 2007 to assist the administration in parts of Malakand division to quell militancy in the mountainous region. The division comprises Swat, Buner, Shangla, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Chitral and Malakand districts.

When several militant groups, led by Mullah Fazlullah, established a parallel administration in Swat, Buner and other adjoining districts and started brutalities, the army launched an operation in May 2009. The air force assisted the army.

Over two million civilians were displaced from the area due to the conflict.

An official communiqué issued from the CM House stated that KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak announced the withdrawal of army from Malakand division in Nowshera.

Khattak said that withdrawal of army from these two districts would be followed by a phase-wise withdrawal from Upper Dir, Lower Dir and Swat where ‘the writ of the government has been consolidated’.

Khattak said that the army was deployed in the Malakand division due to increasing activities of the Taliban in 2007.

The security forces had offered innumerable sacrifices to clear the area and restore peace and now ‘hundreds of displaced people are back’.

The chief minister said that the KP government wanted to resolve all issues through talks and it has been successful in maintaining the writ of the government.

The residents of Malakand have expressed their reservations time and again about the militants’ threat from across the border where the Fazlullah-led Taliban have safe heavens in Nuristan and Kunar provinces and launch attacks in Upper Dir, Lower Dir and in Bajaur Agency as well.

Comments (19) Closed

Ayaz Sep 14, 2013 11:40pm

Khattak has no idea what he is getting into ...

ali khan Sep 15, 2013 05:01am

sad. that the government does not learn from the past. the police will not be able to handle the situation because it is inept. the army has brought stability to swat and buner. and this cm just wants to undo all the good that the army has done and mark my words in the next year or so due to the vacuum of the army leaving the Taliban will be back. and then we will have to have another operation. also the so called social uplift of swat has only been possible due to the presence of the army that provides some sort of security to the area hence allowing local tourism. this too will end.

hass Sep 15, 2013 09:35am

Yes, withdraw all the troops and let the Talibans hooligans run wild and organize and function with meticulous precision next time when they need to target innocent Pakistani like, Malala. Good job Government!

Khalid Muhammad Sep 15, 2013 10:10am

This is a foolish mistake. The civilian administration is not ready to take control of these areas and the Taliban threat still exists. Being from that area, I fell much safer knowing that the Army is there to respond if the Taliban try to rise up again. With them out, the Taliban supporters will take revenge against those who supported the Army. This will get bad very quickly.

ali khan Sep 15, 2013 02:21pm

good idea when shame on the cm for saying this the day the GOC 16th div has embraced shahadat in lower dir

Ashiq Hussain Sep 15, 2013 03:50pm

I think it's wrong decision made by goverment to withdraw Army from the area.The Taliban will take control again after Army withdraw before Army withdrawal the militant must lie their Arms down otherwise we have sacrificed for nothing.we should not accept what the terrorist ask us I think Kp goverment should think twice before any decision and take some advice from our respective Army inshaAllah

Shaikh Mohommd Sep 15, 2013 05:48pm

Good Decision. Military should be in the barracks.

Faisal Sep 15, 2013 06:32pm

In my opinion its good decision let them concentrate of North and South Waziristan. area famous for jewish TTP.

Daud Mazhar Sep 15, 2013 07:19pm

The KPK government should be praised as it has, quite visibly, been able to maintain the writ of the government and has offered to resolve issues through peaceful measures. This decision very much seems to be sensible as far as they are successful in maintaining peace throughout the region.

Ahmed Sep 15, 2013 09:10pm

I wish this would lead to peace in Malakand. But I fear that this will result only in a resurgence of lawlessness. Will Imran Khan then take responsibility for the resulting killing and oppression by those armed groups of lawless men? I seriously doubt it.

Saad(DXB) Sep 15, 2013 09:17pm

The CM spoke too early. A Major General, a Lieutenant Colonel and Army Sepoy embraced martyrdom in Dir today

Raza Sep 15, 2013 10:51pm

The word "withdraw" seems as if the army is the occupier in this case. Pakistan army is not an occupying force and as the recent army actions are proving are strengthening Pakistan government's hold everywhere our brave soldiers go.

I don't think it is a good idea to withdraw our forces so the enemies of Pakistan can strengthen their hold once again. The drone attacks are being used as a ruse to justify the killings of innocent Pakistanis civilians and armed forces.

Sarwat Sep 16, 2013 12:49am

On what grounds is our army leaving the area. Are the residents safe from these criminals, what are the guarantees that they won't come back and start hounding the residents and force their ill values and practices on the residents? Just the logistics of the army equipment is very expensive and time consuming. I am very skeptic about this withdrawal, in the name of peace lets play this risky game. Allah please help the residents, Ameen. Dear Imran, I really hope this works. Get them to lay their arms, and shun violence.

saad Sep 16, 2013 11:20pm

@Ayaz: what makes you think you have?

Zee Pak Sep 17, 2013 01:24am

@Daud Mazhar: You call killing of an army general and a colonel establishing writ of the gov't? Pak Army is not an occupying force that has to clear out. If the militants are serious about peace why do they insist on the army leaving the area? There's only one purpose and that is to establish their own militant writ. IK will learn very soon what the last gov't has learned. Unfortunately.

Ali K Sep 17, 2013 01:47am

My concern is that who will replace the army for the security of the region. PTI must make it clear to the people how it will ensure effective security after Army is gone.

A Pakistani Sep 17, 2013 10:31am

Pak Army should never withdraw any Pakistani territory because it is not an occupying force. Such withdraw will be a very damaging precedent for future of the country. Does KPK government has legitimacy to approve the Pak Army withdrawal from Malakand. It should be the Federal Government's decision to send or withdraw army to any part of the country. ANY WAY I DON"T AGREE to the WITHDRAWAL OF ARMY from any territory until Talaban's complete surrender.

Naseer Sep 17, 2013 05:54pm

Congratulations to all Pakistanis and welcome to new Taliban Pakistan. Our politicians in their greed have forgotten that tomorrow it will be their turn to surrender to Taliban. Our courts have tied the hands of our brave soldiers and our politicians have no will to fight, our people are tired of terrorism, law and order situation and day to day problems with electricity, gas and roads.

Omer Bin Fateh Sep 17, 2013 08:26pm

Shame on KPK Govt. All political parties should know that we should not talk to terrorists. Please, do not give them authority,