MINGORA, Dec 6: Security forces on Thursday demolished houses of Maulana Fazlullah and his spokesman Maulana Sirajuddin in Imam Dehri village, but left the radical cleric’s seminary intact.
“The fate of the controversial seminary of Maulana Fazlullah will be decided by local people,” an official said, adding that the government had sealed it.
The houses were dynamited during a 22-hour curfew in the district.
“The forces will chase militants out of the area,” the in-charge of the Swat operation, Maj-Gen Naseer Janjua, said told journalists in the village.
He claimed that most parts of the Swat Valley had been cleared of militants and some remaining pockets would soon be eliminated.
Throughout the day, forces combed the area and seized small machineguns, pistols, hand-grenades, rocket-launchers, computers and, surprisingly, some liquor bottles.
A militant denied that the liquor belonged to them and termed it ‘a drama’. “They are in control of that area and they can stage any drama they want. It has nothing to do with us,” said Afsar Khan.
The government’s media centre in Mingora claimed that the houses had been demolished with the backing of the local population. It quoted some local people as saying that the seminary had not been used for imparting education, rather it functioned as a hub for militants.
Meanwhile, two militants were killed in Shakardara area near the Usmani Sar mountain. They were reported to be carrying a rocket-launcher and were planning an attack on the forces from the mountaintop.
Security forces, meanwhile, consolidated their positions in the former militant stronghold of Khwazakhela. They took control of the police station, civil hospital, tehsil office and civil administration offices.
The ISPR said the civil administration and police would soon start operating in the area.
Troops attacked suspected positions of militants in Peuchaar and areas north of Matta town with artillery and mortar shells on Wednesday night.
There are reports that Shah Duran, deputy of Maulana Fazlullah, and his five associates were killed a few days ago in Khwazakhela.
Police said that four militants had been arrested in a place near Chakdara on Wednesday night, adding that they were close associates of Maulana Fazlullah.
Sources said that controversial cleric Maulana Nadar, who had been kidnapped by militants two weeks back on charges of spying for the government, had been released.
The authorities relaxed the curfew in Mingora city and areas south of it from 4pm till 8pm, and from 5pm till 8pm in the rest of the district on Thursday. The administration announced that on Friday, the curfew would be relaxed from 7am till 6pm throughout the district.