Pakistan PM says will defeat Taliban and ensure peace

Pakistan's army will finish its offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat valley and ensure peace, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said today as he rallied the support of political parties.





The offensive, launched this month as international alarm grew over an intensifying insurgency, was making progress and every effort would be made to help the more than 1 million people displaced by the fighting, he said.



"The operation against the terrorists is progressing very successfully and those who destroyed the peace of the nation are fleeing in disguise," Gilani said in an opening address to an all-parties conference on the fighting.



"Troops will remain in the region until peace is ensured and all the displaced people return home," he said.



Militant violence in nuclear-armed Pakistan has surged over the past two years, raising fears for its stability and alarming the United States, which needs Pakistani action to help defeat al Qaeda and bring stability to neighbouring Afghanistan.



More than 1,000 militants had been killed in the offensive in the Taliban's Swat bastion, the government has said, while nearly 50 soldiers have been killed, according to the military.



There was no independent confirmation of the government's estimate of militant casualties.



Reporters have left Swat and the army is not letting any back into the valley. Communications with residents still there have also been disrupted.



DURABLE SOLUTION



The offensive in the one-time tourist valley, 130 km (80 miles) northwest of Islamabad, has forced at least 1.17 million people from their homes, and the United Nations has called for a massive international response to the humanitarian crisis.



"The displaced men, women and children should not feel alone. We won't leave any stone unturned in providing them help and protection," Gilani said.



"A victory in the fight against terrorism is in fact a guarantee for the security and protection of our coming generations," he said.



Despite widespread doubts over Pakistan's alliance with the United States in its campaign against Islamist militants and objections to "fighting America's war," most political parties and many members of the public support the offensive.



But opposition is bound to grow if the plight of the displaced worsens or if many of the civilians still in Swat are killed when the army tackles Taliban dug in in the valley's main town and other populated centres.



Gilani called for political parties to play a constructive role.



"I'm well aware that army action is not a durable solution to any problem," Gilani said.



"Unless the people and political parties come out to play their genuine role for the solution to an issue, no durable solution can be found," he said.



About 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 militants in Swat, the military says.



The offensive has worried investors in Pakistani stocks and the main index has lost ground in some sessions over the past two weeks despite signs of economic improvement such as lower inflation which allowed for an interest rate cut last month.



The market was a marginal 0.19 percent higher at 7,190.17 at 9:16 am British time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police