NWFP govt refuses to bow as Taliban deadline to act or resign lapses

July 22nd, 2008 - 12:20 pm ICT by ANI  


Peshawar , July 22 (ANI): As the 5-day ultimatum of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud to the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government to either resign or face consequences expired yesterday, NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar has said that the government would not surrender before the Taliban and was fully prepared to face the militants.

Addressing a press briefing at the Media Centre after a cabinet meeting over the prevailing law and order situation last evening, he said: The NWFP government is fully prepared for any repercussions. The provincial cabinet has given a two-point agenda for maintaining peace in the province the first being to opt for peace dialogue with the militants through jirgas, while the second is to use force to maintain the governments writ.

The NWFP government would continue the dialogue process with the militants who had disarmed to help restore peace but would continue to use force against armed militants challenging the writ of the State, the Daily Times quoted Iftikhar as saying.

He added: People have given the government a five-year mandate, not the Taliban. The militants demand is nonsense.

He said the NWFP government would impose Shariah law within the next two months in Malakand Division and Swat in accordance with the Shari Nizam-e-Adle Act 1999. He added that despite this the Taliban were violating the agreement by bombing girls schools and attacking security forces patrolling the region.

Concerning the withdrawal of forces from Swat, he said that the NWFP government would gradually withdraw forces from the area until complete peace was restored in the region.

Iftikhar also said that the government would soon launch a peace campaign in the province in which Opposition parties would also be invited for playing their roles in restoring peace. (ANI)

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