THE series of incidents taking place in Swat indicate that civilian casualties caused by military operations are on the rise. On Sunday, at least 60 people, mostly non-combatants including women and children, were killed in Matta, Charbagh and Sangota areas of the Valley. According to the ISPR spokesman, 16 among the dead were militants, a small count when compared with the collateral damage. A correspondent of a foreign news channel, who was reporting from the area, quoted an Army official as saying that the civilians who died were actually caught in the crossfire between the Army and the militants. All this mayhem could be attributed to bad strategy. As things stand, the people of the valley are moving out of the area in large numbers. Given the fact that there are already half a million internally displaced persons struggling in squalid makeshift camps and other places, the ongoing exodus could lead to a major humanitarian crisis. Though Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday hinted at the possibility of changing the option, his statement that the government will change its strategy from dialogue to military does not seem quite the right way to end the prevailing conflagration. Even if the Army wins the battle against the terrorists, the manner it has been carrying out its operation it runs the risk of a pyrrhic victory. Its consequences for the integrity of the country will be momentous. The tragic turn of events on Sunday is not new. Many civilians had died earlier during a curfew in Mingora, the largest town in Swat. Part of the reason for the civilian losses is the type of weapons being used, artillery, mortars, and helicopters. The Army has no precision weapons system at its disposal. While the operation is being conducted in settled civilian areas, the US, which compelled Pakistan to pursue its anti-terrorism agenda militarily, has these precision weapons. Unless it decides to hand over this technology to Pakistan, the rate of casualties will continue to mount. This would also hurt the long-term interest of the US. Under the circumstances, there is a need to provide Pakistan with drones equipped with operational technology to target miscreants. Meanwhile, there is a need for civilian oversight also. The media particularly ought to be allowed to cover the operations. It has to be facilitated and provided with security to perform its professional functions, something that would benefit the Army. Unless the Army does so, baseless rumours about the military action are likely to be accepted by the local population and the country.