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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high