We Will Crush Militants With Iron Hand, Says Pak PM Gilani

Militants were on the run after being targeted by the Pakistan army and the government will crush foreign elements trying to disrupt peace in the country, with an iron hand, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
we will crush militants with iron hand says pak...
PTI November 18, 2009 9:54 IST

Militants were on the run after being targeted by the Pakistan army and the government will crush foreign elements trying to disrupt peace in the country, with an iron hand, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in Dera Ismail Khan on Tuesday. 

"The terrorists are now on the run," Gilani claimed at a press conference. Expressing satisfaction over the conduct of the military operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan, he said militant strongholds had been captured and "targets were being achieved".

Gilani, who travelled to Dera Ismail Khan to interact with people displaced by the operation in the tribal belt, earlier said "a handful of foreign elements" were trying to disrupt peace in the country and the government would crush them with an iron hand.

Among the foreign elements involved in terrorism are Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens and Afghans, Gilani told a jirga or council of the Mehsud tribe, to which Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud belongs.

The international community now "firmly believes that peace and stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan are vital for world peace," he said.

Terrorism stemmed from poverty and illiteracy and the government is working to provide healthcare, education, employment and basic facilities in the tribal belt to bring the people into the mainstream, Gilani said.

The military operation is not a solution and the government will take steps to fill the administrative, economic and socio-political vacuum in the tribal belt, he added.

Tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting in South Waziristan have taken shelter in Dera Ismail Khan and other parts of the North West Frontier Province. The government is providing financial aid and rations to the displaced people.

The military claims it has killed over 500 militants since the operation was launched in South Waziristan last month.

Responding to a question on demands to scrap the powers of the President and to implement political reforms, Gilani said President Asif Ali Zardari is willing to hand over powers to dissolve parliament, dismiss the premier and appoint the three services chiefs to parliament and the Prime Minister.

On India, Gilani said India is not ready to resume the composite dialogue process and Pakistan will present the evidence about its purported role "whenever required". He did not give details.

On arriving in Dera Ismail Khan, Gilani was briefed by Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad and senior officials of the army s Special Support Group that is responsible for caring for the displaced people. Authorities had registered 37,000 of the 57,000 families displaced from South Waziristan. PTI

 
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