Sunday, August 14, 2022
RAWALPINDI: The military Saturday strongly responded to the reports claiming that a large number of militants belonging to the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were present in Swat.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that during the past few days, a misperception about the presence of a large number of TTP’s armed members in Swat Valley has been created on social media.
"After confirmation on [the] ground, these reports have been found as grossly exaggerated and misleading," the military's media wing said.
The ISPR, however, noted that there is the presence of a small number of armed men has been observed on a few mountain tops between Swat and Dir has been observed — but it is located far away from the population.
These individuals, the ISPR said, had apparently sneaked in from Afghanistan to resettle in their native areas.
The military said that a close watch is being maintained on their limited presence and movement in mountains and required measures are in place by all law enforcement agencies for the safety and security of people of adjoining areas.
"The presence of militants anywhere will not be tolerated and they will be dealt with full use of force if required," the military warned.
Amid constant speculations regarding the heavy presence of militants in the Swat Valley, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police had also earlier clarified that it is aware of the videos circulating on social media.
KP Police Central Office, in a press release issued Thursday, said that police are also aware of the apprehensions of the general public that Swat may return to the 2008-09 era when militants ruled the valley with their version of Shariah.
Assuring the public that the police are fully cognizant of the fact that some individuals from Swat previously living in Afghanistan were present in far-flung mountainous areas of Swat, it said that the valley is "totally under the control" of civil administration and all law enforcing agencies are ready to respond to any incident.
It said that the peaceful society of Swat has no space for terrorism in any form and manifestation.
“LEAs are appropriately placed and will resort to all possible measures to ensure peace in Swat as per aspirations of the local populace,” the press release read.
Meanwhile, the local residents and members of the civil society on Friday staged protests in two tehsils of Swat to demand security after the reported resurgence of the militants in parts of the district.
Carrying banners and placards, the members of the civil society gathered at the Khwazakhela and Kabal bazaars. They were chanting slogans and asking the government to take measures to maintain peace in the district.
“The people of Swat suffered a lot during the previous military operation against the militants. The government must take steps before it’s too late,” said one of the protesters. They urged the police and security forces to take notice of the situation and take steps to maintain law and order in the scenic valley.