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Political parties urge government to restore peace in restive Swat Valley.

Islamabad: A representative gathering of Pakistani political partiesAaon MondayAacalled for a durable settlement of the Swat conflict, a quick end to the ongoing military operation and the restoration of peace to the restive valley.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the All Parties Conference (APC) held at the prime minister's state residence, that the ongoing military operation in Swat would meet its logical end through the elimination of militants.

Except religious right Jamaat-e-Islami and Thareek-e-Insaaf, led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, as well as some objections raised by government ally Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who opposed the military action in restive Swat region, almost all the political parties supported the ongoing military operation in Swat.

Attended by 43 party heads and representatives, the gathering was a rare meeting of the bitterly divided Pakistani politicians, who have no common vision to steer the country out of the looming crisis on its western borders, insurgency in tribal areas and the Swat Valley.

Former premiers Nawaz Sharif, Mir Zafarullah Jamali, Ch Shujaat Hussain also attended the meeting.

Participants were briefed about the ongoing military operation, relief and rehabilitation efforts for displaced people and reasons behind the failure of the peace deal with elderly cleric Sufi Mohammad, father-in-law of Swat Taliban leader Fazlullah.

Gilani said troops would remain stationed in Swat till peace was restored and all internally displaced people were rehabilitated.

"The military operation is progressing with success and the militants are fleeing after changing their get ups," Gilani said.

"We know that military operation is not a permanent solution to the Swat problem, but the militants were not allowing the people to live a free life. The people of Swat were calling for help and that is why I ordered military action as a last resort," he said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 19, 2009
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