ISLAMABAD - Fighting fiercely to secure Mingora, Kabal and other areas of Swat region areas, the security forces have killed 29 militants during the last 24 hours and cleared 90 per cent area of Buner district, DG ISPR Major General Athar Abbas said this on Tuesday while addressing a joint press conference with State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sumsam Bukhari.
Major General Athar Abbas also said that six soldiers embraced shahadat during the said period.
In last 24 hours, 29 terrorists were killed in exchange of fire with security forces in different areas of Swat DG ISPR said. He also said that 14 terrorists had also been arrested.
Six soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom) and 11 soldiers were injured, he added. He said that security forces had made considerable progress in Mingora city where house-to-house search was in progress. He said that during exchange of fire 18 terrorists had been killed in Mingora and 7 others had been arrested while escaping towards Buner.
He further informed that four Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) had also been diffused and road linking Malakand, Qambar and Mingora had been opened. In Qambar, the security forces had diffused 12 IEDs and also recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition.
He said that the security forces had also cleared Kanju-Kabal Road and fierce fighting is going on for securing Kabal. He also said that during exchange of fire between security forces and militants, 3 soldiers had embraced shahadat and 8 others sustained injuries.
While briefing the media about situation in Peochar Valley, DG ISPR said the security forces continued search operation and destroyed militants stronghold at Mano Derai. During exchange of fire 3 miscreants has been killed and three others 3 have been apprehended, he said.
In Shangla, he said, the security forces have attained foothold at Bagh Derai. During the clash with miscreants, one soldier embraced shahadat and one sustained injuries at Sambat Bridge near Fateh Pur.
A 30 member Jirga arrived at Kuz Durshkhela to express their support for the army operation in the area, he added.
He further said that a remote control shaped charged IED of 20 kg explosive had also been defused at Pir Kalai. The security forces have cleared Sakhra valley, the main route of terrorists movement from Peochar to Kalam and other areas, he informed.
Talking of Buner, he said that 90 percent of the district has been cleared of the militants. Some terrorists are present at Pir Baba, but to keep the sanctity of Ziarat, firing is being avoided. During search at check-posts, 4 miscreants have been arrested, he said.
Last night in Dir, around 100 or 120 militants attacked Kalpani Post from three directions and the security forces successfully the attack. As a result of the incident, militants suffered heavy causalities, Athar Abass said. Kalpani Post seals Maidan valley route from the north and miscreants-terrorists are desperate to remove this post, he added.
He further informed that 8 dead bodies had been recovered from the close vicinity of the check-post. He said that two security personnel embraced Shahadat and 3 sustained injuries, including an officer.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sumsam Bukhari said that there was no bar on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) against moving to other parts of the country. However, he advised them to 'stay closer to their homes so that they could easily be repatriated after peace in the region.
He said this while addressing a joint press conference with Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Athar Abbas.
There is no restriction on the movement of the IDPs in any part of the country, Sumsam Bukhari said.
The state minister also said that the IDPs were Pakistani citizens and they were free to move anywhere in the country. As the government wants to repatriate them as early as possible, it would be better for them to stay in areas which are closer to their homes, he added.
Commenting on the time fame for winding up the operation, he said that no exact time frame for concluding the military operation could be given. However, he added that the military operation was going well by the grace of Allah and with the support of the people and soon the nation would hear good news of terrorists elimination from the region of Swat.
He said that with the support of the whole country, the Pakistan Army had made big achievements in a short span of time.
Talking about relief operation for the IDPs, he said that the situation was improving with each passing day.
The minister said that fighting was going on in Mingora and Kabal. As we are advancing, there is news of resistance, he stated. He said that government was trying to reduce the problems of IDPs on daily basis. They have a lot of problems. They have migrated from cooler area into scorching heat, he added. He further vowed that government would not leave any stone unturned in helping these IDPs. He further said that in the present situation, MQM had given its view on the IDPs issue.
He said that the government was utilising all its resources for the provision of relief to the IDPs, as their rehabilitation was the utmost priority of the government.
To a question, he said that NADRA teams were busy in registration of the IDPs, which would prove very helpful not only providing relief to them but also in their rehabilitation and reconstruction process.
He said that the foreign aid was coming but the government did not solely depend on it, as the country had resources to look after the IDPs. Replying to a question about provision of Rs 25,000 cash to the IDPs, Sumsam Ali Bukhari said that the government would ensure that no undeserving persons was given any cash meant for the displaced families. Parliamentary Secretary for Information Azeem Daultana and Principal Information Officer (PIO) Shabbir Anwar were also present during the press conference.
Armys relief efforts: DG ISPR said that 5 trucks of rations had been despatched to Khawazakhela and 3, containing bedding and ration, had been delivered to IDPs of Union Council Saro Shah.
Seven trucks of ration items and non-food items had been sent to 5000 IDPs of Union Council Guli Bagh, Bakhshali, Gujrat, Balagarhi, Takhat Bahi, Mayar and Baghdada, he said while adding four trucks had been despatched for the stranded people of Mingora. Six more are being despatched shortly, he said.
Answering a question, General Attar said that militants were demoralised and were on the run adding the security forces have recovered arms and ammunition and foreign currency.