ISLAMABAD - Saying that NWFP government would take final decision on return of internally displaced people (IDPs) to Swat, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira Monday hoped rehabilitation to start soon as utilities were mostly restored. Since it is the jurisdiction of NWFP provincial government, theyd probably be making a formal announcement in this regard within days not weeks and months, said the minister addressing a joint media briefing along with Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). It should not be taken as if all IDPs would be restored at once immediately after the announcement, he said and added, it would be done gradually in phases but surely it would not be delayed. According to the minister, the provincial government would announce time schedule for phase-wise return of IDPs in a week or so. Most of the utilities including electricity, gas, and telephone have already been restored in most parts of the areas affected by the operation of Swat valley, he told the media. According to the minister, the government has already instructed the Pakistan Telecom Company Limited (PTCL) to place containers for make telecom services available in areas where these connections were completely destroyed during the operation. The minister said that the government, Special Support Group (SSG), law enforcement agencies, the Army, and the provincial government would fully facilitate return of the IDPs. Updating the media on process cash disbursement to IDPs, the minister said that it was in full swings and 50,000 IDPs had so far received visa cash cards and that they had already withdrawn cash against their visa cards. According to the minister, 109,000 cards had been prepared. On restoration of police system in Malakand and Swat, he said, community policing was being introduced in those areas. Answering a question regarding slow pace of the operation, he said Armed Forces were operating inside the country and were trying to avoid loss of civilian lives. To another question, Kaira ruled out withdrawal of troops from Eastern border with India in order to reinforce Army operations on Western borders. Pakistan has a history of hostile relations with India so we cannot be oblivious of our border with them, he maintained. Denouncing impressions that the US wants Pakistan to withdraw forces from Eastern borders and deploy them in Fata, he said, We have made it clear to them (the US) that we cant take Indian threat lightly. Only Army Commanders decide where to withdraw forces from for deployment in troubled Fata and rest of border areas with Afghanistan. He answered a questioner that the foreigner militants arrested during Swat and Malakand operation would be punished as per law of the land. He ruled out extradition of any of arrested foreigner militants. To a question about alternate economy in the Fata, he said, the government had allocated a huge amount in the budget 2009-10 for the development of the areas. At the same time, he added, already planned (and American funded) Regional Economic Zones (ROZs) were meant for bringing the Fata at par with rest of the country in the overall economic development. Earlier DG ISPR informed the media that Swat Operation namely Rah-e-Rast was near completion. He explained on maps that there were only three pockets left from where militants were still resisting. Giving details of militants ambush attacks on an Army convoy in North Waziristan, he said, 16 soldiers including three officers embraced martyrdom while 10 terrorists were killed in retaliatory firing by the Army. He said that this attack was totally unprovoked as there was no operation being carried out by the Army in North Waziristan. The government and the Army now reserve the right to respond to this attack according to customs of the area, he added. Kaira and DG ISPR were not on the same page regarding the operation in South Waziristan against Baitullah Mehsud. Kaira said Rah-e-Nijat had not formally started as yet, while DG ISPR explained after the briefing that Army had been carrying out aerial bombardment in South Waziristan. Therefore, the operation started with the beginning of aerial bombing while ground operation was to follow. To a question about reported interception of some militant leaders talks on satellite phones and consequent raids on the located spots, the DG said, It was not in my knowledge. He said Lashkar with the support of law enforcement agencies and the Army had been making good progress against the militants in Dir. In nutshell, he said, Buner, Swat, Malakand and Mohmand areas were almost cleared from the militants and the writ of the government has been restored. AFP adds: Clashes and air strikes killed up to 27 militants and five civilians as fighting surged Monday across northwest tribal belt, a Taliban stronghold, officials said. Fighter jets pounded suspected insurgent hideouts in South and North Waziristan, where the military says it is using air raids to lay the groundwork for a full-scale assault against Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud. Pakistan has offered a 615,000-US-dollar reward for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of Mehsud, who is holed up in South Waziristan and who has been blamed for some of the worst attacks in the country. At least seven militants were killed after jet fighters pounded their hideouts in Saam village of South Waziristan, a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. A local intelligence official said several abandoned buildings were destroyed in air strikes but had no confirmation of any loss of life. In North Waziristan, five rebels were killed when helicopters shelled their hideouts in the town of Madda Khel in retaliation for an ambush which killed 12 soldiers Sunday, said a security official in the regions main town Miranshah. Helicopters gunships are continuously targeting militant hideouts in Wachabibi and Madda Khel, a security official in Miranshah told AFP. So far we have reports of five militants killed but the toll may rise as two cobra gunships are still shelling Taliban bases, he said. Overnight, 15 Afghan-bound Taliban fighters and two tribesmen were killed in a gun battle in the region of Kurram, which is also part of tribal belt that falls outside direct government control, officials said. The clash erupted when militants - heading to the eastern Afghan province of Khost - were crossing an area dominated by the Toori tribe belonging to the Shia sect late Sunday, local administration official Siddiq Ahmed told AFP. Security officials confirmed the casualties near the town of Parachinar, close to the Afghan border, and said Tooris feared the Taliban had infiltrated the area. At least three civilians were killed in the village of Kaloosha, about 17 kilometres west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. First militants fired rockets at an army camp in Wana, after which troops responded with artillery fire, said local government official Ghafoor Shah. One of the shells hit people coming out of a mosque in Kaloosha village and killed three people and wounded another seven, Shah told AFP. It was not clear where the shell was fired from. Security officials in the area confirmed the death toll. Fighting in tribal belt follows two months of assaults to root out the Taliban from three districts of NWFP. Commanders say those assaults are nearly over, but sporadic fighting has continued and many areas have been devastated by the offensive, leaving it unclear how an estimated two million displaced people can easily return home. In Buner, a bomb exploded, wounding at least eight people, three of them security officials, police said. The bomb exploded in a bazaar in Swarhi town as displaced civilians queued up to collect food from a state-run depot after recently returning from camps, said police officer Abdul Rashid Khan. The bomb, planted under a bridge, wounded eight people including three police officials, he told AFP. A private car was also damaged, he added.