TIMERGARA: Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood on Monday said that security forces had been directed to vacate all occupied government buildings in parts of Malakand division within a week.

He said the forces would remain either on borders or in the ‘hearts’ of people.

Speaking at a jirga of local elders, politicians and heads of government departments at Dir Scouts Fort in Balambat, Gen Mehmood said security forces had to return back to barracks after restoration of lasting peace in the area.

He announced that all government buildings occupied by security forces for security reasons, including schools and hospitals, would be vacated within a week.

“The personnel found guilty of deforestation and cutting trees on Pak-Afghan border would be dealt as per law. Even court martial proceedings will be initiated against military officials if found involved in illegally cutting forests on borders,” he warned.

Gen Mehmood announced that anti-state elements who wanted to return would be welcomed.

“The whole area had fallen prey to international conspiracies hatched against Pakistan in neighbouring Afghanistan by enemies but Pak Army won’t let anyone deteriorate the law and order situation again,” he vowed.

He lauded the efforts and sacrifices rendered by local elders for restoration of peace in the region.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019