Pakistani security panel draws up anti-terror roadmap

February 3rd, 2009 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 3 (IANS) A parliamentary panel on security is drawing up an anti-terror roadmap, particularly for Pakistan’s restive northwest, but has cautioned against expecting quick-fix solutions.”The committee does not have the magical Aladdin’s Lamp that recommendations will be completed within a minute,” sources quoted Raza Rabbani, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS), as saying during Monday’s in-camera meeting.

According to Rabbani, the committee was doing “practical work” on implementing a parliamentary resolution on prepare a strategy to counter terrorism.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament House after the meeting, Rabbani said the committee was in the process of drawing up recommendations on bringing peace to areas where extremism is on the rise.

“The concerned departments responsible for national security have given their detailed briefings to the committee and the recommendations are being formulated on the basis of the information furnished,” he said.

Beyond saying the committee would hold its next meeting Feb 12 Rabbani did not give a time line for completing its task.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan and Local Government Minister Abdul Razzaq Thahim were among those who attended the meeting, which came on the day on which at least 35 militants were killed in ground and air operations against insurgents in the northwest Swat region.

The army Monday attacked militant hideouts in the Khawazakhela district of the sprawling valley, two days after another 16 militants were killed in a similar operation at a different place in the troubled region.

“Thousands of residents have fled the valley since the army intensified its operations against militants loyal to cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who is behind a bloody campaign to enforce a Taliban-style Sharia law in the region,” The News reported Tuesday.

“In a massive exodus, an estimated 20,000 people have left their homes in districts of Swat battered by the military operations and taken refuge in camps set up by the authorities,” it added, quoting local officials.

“Thirty-five militants were killed in Khawazakhela overnight,” the Pakistani military said in a short statement Tuesday.

The Pakistani government has vowed to rein in the militants, who have caused chaos in the Swat valley, which until only 2007 was a popular tourist mountain resort among Western and Pakistani holidaymakers.

Fazlullah’s men have executed dozens of state employees and government supporters, and residents say government control is practically non-existent.

Taliban militants trying to impose their repressive interpretation of Islam, have blown up schools, killed people they accuse of spying for the government or the US, and banned music and dancing.

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