Pakistan holds Swat emergency talks

Prime minister gathers political parties to discuss the situation in the northwest.

    Gilani, right, described the military offensive in the Swat valley as "successful" [AFP]

    "What is being discussed too is a national policy for Pakistan in terms of its counter-terrorism strategy," he said.

    "The basis of the discussion is how to form a national action campaign based on Pakistani sovereignty. In other words, the assistance of no outside force will be used countering the threats to the country from within."

    'Crushing the Taliban'

    Hanna said the government was not only focused on "crushing the Pakistani Taliban completely".

    "They also wish to isolate them politically and remove all forms of popular support to drain the water in which groups like this operate." 

    In depth

     Video: The fight for Mingora
     Riz Khan: Obama's 'AfPak' strategy
     Riz Khan: The battle for the soul of Pakistan
     Interview: Asif Ali Zardari
     Q&A: The struggle for Swat
     Your views: Crisis in Swat
     The fight for northwest Pakistan
    Talking to the Taliban
    Pakistan's war
     Pakistan diary

    The army said on Sunday it was battling fighters on the outskirts of Mingora, the main town in the area, and had entered two other Taliban-held towns.

    Muslim Khan, a Swat Taliban spokesman, told The Associated Press news agency that the fighters were prepared for any onslaught.

    "We will fight until the last breath for the enforcement of Islamic law," he said.

    "We consider ourselves on the right path."

    About 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 Taliban fighters in Swat, according to the military.

    The government has said about 1,000 Taliban fighters have been killed during the 23-day offensive.

    The government on Sunday urged civilians to leave areas where the fighting was ongoing.

    The United Nations refugee agency has registered 1.17 million people displaced by the fighting in the Swat area since May 2, and has called for a massive international response to the humanitarian crisis.

    The UN said only about 18 per cent of the displaced were staying in the 12 camps set up by the authorities, while the rest were staying with friends, relatives, in rented accommodation or in "spontaneous settlements" that were springing up.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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