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APC: PTI to grill govt over Swat operation

May 18, 2009

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LAHORE, May 17 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan says the government will be quizzed at an all-party conference being held in Islamabad on Monday (today) why it considered Swat operation inevitable without trying dialogue to restore peace in the restive valley.

Talking to reporters after visiting a relief camp set up for collecting donations for the Swat displaced people here on Sunday, Mr Khan said army operations had deteriorated situations in Waziristan, Swat, Lal Masjid and Balochistan.

He said the Lal Masjid action could have been averted by forcing the people holed up there to come out through severing power and water supplies. He said despite efforts by some political figures, the army raided the mosque leaving scores of “innocent” people killed.

Similarly, he said, the government said that there was no option but to find a military solution to the Swat militancy just 12 days after the implementation of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation there.

“We'll ask in the conference what made the government to go for the extreme measure and that too at a time when President Zardari was visiting US President Obama.”

Khan said before demanding an end to the army action, the government would be asked to explain how the extremists succeeded in their plan there. For, he said, he considered the displacement of two million people from the area a success of the extremists.

The PTI chairman said there were rare instances in which cannons and gunship helicopters were used by a government against its own people.

He said his party was neither with the Taliban or extremists who were cutting jugular veins of army men nor with those who were taking army action in Swat.

About a US senator's claim that drone attacks were undertaken with the permission of Islamabad, Khan said the rulers must inform the nation of the reality.

He said that if proved that drone attacks were being undertaken with the permission of the government, any citizen could move a court of law against the rulers.

He said the PTI worked for provision of relief to the displaced people as soon it would set up its camps in Noshera as some were already functioning in Mardan and Swabi.