Taliban will be forced to lay down arms: Pakistan PM

May 11th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 11 (IANS) Vowing to force the Taliban to lay down their arms, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the government’s writ would be re-established in the country’s troubled northwest, where a military operation is underway against the militants.
“No matter how strong they (the militants) may get, they cannot fight with the armed forces of Pakistan. We will soon force them to lay down their arms,” he said while making a policy statement in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on the military operations in three districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

“These terrorists are trying to destabilize and conquer Pakistan. They have their own agenda. They don’t have a religion and are working under their foreign masters,” APP quoted the prime minister as saying.

“These (militants) are a handful of people who are not sincere to Pakistan. Inshallah, we will fight them bravely and strengthen the defence of the country,” the prime minister maintained.

He noted in this context that the National Assembly had last month approved the imposition of Sharia laws in the Malakand division of the NWFP that comprises seven districts, including Swat, Buner and Lower Dir, where the military operations are currently underway. In turn, the militants were to have laid down their arms, which they did not, Gilani noted.

He lamented that instead of ensuring peace, the writ of the NWFP government was challenged, personnel of the law enforcing agencies were taken hostage and government property was destroyed or forcefully occupied.

Under these circumstances, Gilani maintained, the government was left with no option but to order the military operation against the militants, adding all the stakeholders, including parliamentarians from Malakand, had been taken on board.

“I assure the house that the whole nation is united,” the prime minister said.

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