Militants on the back foot in Chitral

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Major General Ghulam Qamar, the General Officer Commanding for the Swat region, claimed yesterday that a number of militant attacks against the Pakistani army were successfully repulsed during the past several months, inflicting heavy casualties on the attackers. He said that the insurgents are almost completely eradicated from the Malakand division, and they are running out of options. He further clarified that there are no safe houses for the insurgents remaining in the region and there is no chance of a terrorist regrouping, as their strength is considerably reduced.

According to the Major General, the terrorists in the past had launched a number of failed offensives along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which resulted in very heavy casualties among them. He also warned the insurgents that anyone trying to intrude from the Afghanistan side will be eradicated without any mercy and that the territorial integrity of Pakistan will be maintained at any cost.

Major Genaral Qamar also congratulated the 139 graduates who successfully completed technical training at the Mashaal Pakistan Army Institute. The institute is designated for ex-insurgents, who will be taught technical and job training, in order to accelerate their civilian transformation. The institute is located in Gulibagh, Swat Valley. The Major General hoped that the men who successfully completed their training will now become useful members of the society and will serve as the role model for the youth in the region. High ranking military and government officials, including Commissioner of Malakand, Dr Fakhre Alam, DIG Akhtar Hayat Khan, DCO Kamran Rehman, Brigadier Sajjad, and Brigadier Shahbaz attended the ceremony which was held to mark the passing out of graduates.

The Malakand division is one of the 7 divisions which comprise the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is composed of the districts of Chitral, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Swat, Buner, Shangla, and Malakand. It shares a long and porous border with the Repulic of Afghanistan, and like other regions of the NWFP, the Malakand division is also severely affected by the anti-government insurgency.

A total of 1,040 people have successfully graduated from the Mashaal institute in the past two years, which is run by the Pakistan Army. Training is provided in a number of diverse fields, including computer technology, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

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