Taliban are still there in Swat: Afzal Lala


Renowned nationalist politician and former federal minister Muhammad Afzal Khan, commonly known as Khan Lala, Wednesday expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the military action against militants in Swat Valley but warned that Taliban still existed in the region. “I believe one fourth of the militants were either killed or captured whereas the remaining ones are still at large,” he remarked while speaking at the Peshawar Press Club’s programme ‘Meet the Press’, adding that in presence of a large number of extremists, no one could ensure return of peace and stability in the area. He, however, thanked the armed forces particularly Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for a successful operation against militants.
In response to a question, Khan Lala said, “Terrorism and militancy have become a global issue and it could be averted through political means only.” He urged all the politicians to build up a consensus for tackling the menace which could prove a serious threat for the existence of country. Khan Lala called for unity among Pakhtuns, saying it was essential not only for their survival but also for rooting out militancy from the region.
The nationalist leader said terrorism was ominous threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. “All these three countries are playing a loosing game,” he noted. Lala urged the neighbouring countries to formulate a unified stance, saying it was not a impossible task with an aim to resolve the various common issues as did by the European countries who remained hostile to each others for centuries but were now united under the banner of the European Union. He stressed the need of honouring all the commitments being made with the Afghan authorities and said it was near impossible for the governments of the two countries to eliminate terrorism from their respective soils and the region unless they bridged the prevailing trust deficit.
Without mentioning Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Afzal Khan said, “Certain religious groups who had opposed Pakistan are fuelling hostilities with India for some unknown reasons.” Answering another question, Lala said, “Army has assumed the charge of overall affairs in Swat; therefore, the role of civilian government is minimum in day-to-day affairs.”