Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am glad that entire nation except QAZI HUSSAIN AND IMRAN KHAN is united on war against ignorant, fanatics, thugs and criminal Taliban. These thugs, criminals and killers are not offering anything positive but only death and damaging name of Islam and Pakistan. I am happy to see broad public and political support for the war. I am glad that people have realized that monster Taliban had to be defeated. They are doing no good to any one. The name of Islam, Pakistan and good kind innocent people have been tarnished all over the world because of them. Pakistan Army should punish em real hard and kill or arrest Taliban leaders and bring them to justice, these so called Taliban leaders are involve in crimes against humanity. They beheaded even children ,destroyed schools and other business which QAZI HUSSAIN and IMRAN KHAN DON’T SEE. It is a real test of Pakistan Army, they must crush these lunatics, nation will be very disappointed if they don’t win this war against Taliban and punish them.  The emerging situation in Pakistan needs to be combated now in a very aggressive manner. These Hypocrite Taliban are a shame on Islam. It will be a service to Islam and humanity to bring these animals to a court of law. Pakistan’s civil society must target these lumping elements if they want to clean Pakistan of these rabid fundamentalist elements.   Taliban have been destroying or occupying government buildings and blowing up bridges, basic health units and hotels, including the one that looked majestic with clouds often swirling around it at the now deserted Malam Jabba skiing and chairlift resort. Electricity and gas installations have been bombed and road blockades and checkpoints set up to add to the misery of the people. Beheadings of personnel of security forces and police and political rivals is common. Bodies of people slain overnight are dumped in the morning by the roadside everywhere in Swat or at the Greens Chowk, nowadays commonly referred to as "Khooni Chowk" (bloody square), in Mingora city. Taliban never had any genuine demands that could be considered. There actions are genocide of innocent peace loving puktuns . Forgiving them the blood of all those that they have killed just for negotiating "peace" sends a very wrong signal to all the other crooks who want to make money out of suppressing others. These guys need to be made an example off or we are bound to see more episodes in the futures. The only solution of the Taliban problem is an armed solution . The Taliban in Swat is a rag tag bunch of around 2000 fighters, besides being small in number they have alienated the local population with their cruelty. This should not be a big problem for the 500,000 strong Pakistan army IF it is willing to take them on. It is equally important to find and expose those elements, groups or countries supporting & re-sourcing Taliban with money and weapons and parallel efforts be made by all, army as well as local tribes to help close the taps. Otherwise it is going to be a long haul fire fighting and extended collateral miseries for the IDPs. We really need to get rid of these Taliban from Pakistan. Once they are eliminated, we should start educating our citizens in those areas to make sure no Taliban is born into another home anywhere in Pakistan. Today majority of Pakistanis from Khyber to Karachi are with our forces fighting with them to eliminate them. I think the operation started bid late, in fact it should have started earlier. I am happy that our Army is advancing and they(So Called Taleban) are retreating and on the run.  I believe Taliban are the enemy of our nation and our people. We must support the families who had to vacate their homes at the hands of these barbarians. The bigger issue here is that these thugs are clearly trying to hide in the mass of refugees exiting the area of operation. So the question that arises for the security agencies is - is there a system in place to screen the whole lot of refugees in order to ensure that the Taliban are weeded out of the influx. Otherwise all the operation would end up achieving is a wider dispersal of these animals, leading to a wider geographic spread of the Taliban phenomenon. What Pakistani citizens can do now is to identify these taliban foxes among them and turn these abusers to the officials. If these barbarians really were Muslims they would never enforce their opinion on other people. Even our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never preached Islam by force. Double standards are deeply rooted in their philosophy. The question we must now ask ourselves is that do they really want to spread Islam or do they want to destabilize our country in the name of a peace-loving religion such as Islam. The people of Pakistan will never be forced into the dark ages . These militants are two faced barbarians! Killing people, barring women from education, looting and creating a chaos all in the name of Islam - is this really Islam? It is for people like these that our religion has had a bad press. I really hope and pray that each and every monster/Talib gets killed just as the same way they inflicted torture to people by beheading and disgracing corpses . Taliban and other extremist are savages. We as Pakistanis should do our best to drive them out. It is our failure that we let them in our cities and villages. Now the nation have risen and it time for Taliban and extremist to go where they actually belong and this is in the confinement and prison. They should not be allowed to impose their savagery on rest of the nation. Taliban are not Muslims, they are destroying the peaceful religion.. shame on them.
Pakistani Govt. is taking the right step to once it for all eliminate them, they don’t deserve to be talked about just eliminate them, request to all the parties in Pakistan to be united in this great cause and bring stability to Pakistan and freedom to its people.

Combat spreads in Swat

SWAT/MOHMAND AGENCY - As fighting flared up in several areas of Swat Valley on Thursday in which a key militant commander was killed, another prominent Taliban commander Yarseed along with five other militants surrendered themselves in Mohmand Agency on Thursday.
They handed themselves over to the Agency administration at a ceremony held in Jirga Hall of Ghalani in the presence of Political Agent Amjad Ali.
Addressing the ceremony, the Political Agent remarked that though the militants had shocked and tortured the nation as well as the government, the government would take care of them if they surrendered. The five others who surrendered included Tariq, Usman, Hasseen Shah, Mohammad Ishaq and Gul Zamin.
Amjad Ali said, “Pakistan is an Islamic country and there is no ban on Islamic way of life. We are Muslims and know the principles of Islam very well.” He said that Pakistan was a stable country and no one could dare destabilise it. He said that militants could not justify their activities as they were fighting against their own people.
He thanked the elders of Safi tribe who convinced these militants to lay down arms. He said all the miscreants should know that government had an alternate option in case of failure of dialogue. He urged the militants to disarm themselves for the sake of the development of the country.
Yarseed on the occasion said that he had joined Taliban for the sake of Islam but when he saw the IDPs’ women in various relief camps, he compelled to lay down arms and hand over himself to the government.
Reuters/AFP adds: A number of terrorists including one of their commanders Abu Tariq were killed while seven miscreants held from various parts of the area during the last 24 hours.
In an update issued here Thursday by the ISPR, five soldiers embraced Shahadat and seven others including an officer injured in various areas of Swat.
The military reported fighting in Peochar, a key Taliban bastion in northern Swat, the town of Kanju and around a Taliban supply line in Takhtabund.
Security forces cleared a number of miscreants’ hideouts in the Poechar valley and are conducting search and destroy operations while fire battles continued between terrorists and the troops.
Security forces attacked and “fully secured” the strategic plateau of Banai Baba Ziarat, which the military called “the highest point in the area”.
Forces have secured and cleared the area up to Shahid Khapa and making further advancement towards the valley. During clashes, few terrorists were killed and three soldiers hurt.
In Kanju and Takhtaband areas the security forces are strengthening their positions around Takhtaband Bridge, Barikot, Gokdara, and Udigram. The security forces Wednesday attacked the Banai Baba Ziarat occupied by the terrorists and the highest point in the area while Ziarat was fully secured by the Army.
The military says more than 1,050 militants and more than 60 soldiers have been killed since forces launched an offensive against advancing Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan late last month.
Such death tolls are impossible to confirm independently with the combat area a closed military zone, sealed off to journalists and aid workers.
NNI adds: Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman Thursday visited an operational base from where air operations are being conducted against the militants in Swat valley and adjoining areas.
On his arrival at the operational base, the Base Commander briefed the Air Chief about the significant aspects of air operations, a PAF statement said.
While addressing the airmen of the base, the Air Chief said, “PAF undertook its obligations towards national security and is, therefore, supporting Pak Army in its ground operations to restore writ of the government in Swat and root out militancy from there. PAF is striking targets, which are located in isolated areas. PAF is making all possible efforts to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage. For this, it is only using precision guided munitions (PGMs).”
The Air Chief also said, “Intelligence and information about targets are being provided to PAF by the ground forces engaged with the militants. Pak Army as well as the PAF are extremely careful about targets’ selection to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage during the operation. The targets engaged by PAF are ammunition dumps, militants training camps, militant commanders’ hideouts and tunnel structures. The militants have been flushed out from their hideouts.”
While talking about the PAF relief operations for IDPs, he said, “PAF is also contributing significantly towards the relief efforts for the IDPs. It is in the process of setting up a relief camp for 250 families and a field hospital, which will be run by the NWFP government and sustained by the PAF. PAF will hand over the camp and relief goods to NWFP government shortly.”
He further said the PAF would continue its relief operations by airlifting relief goods from Karachi, Quetta and Lahore by utilising its transports aircraft fleet to ensure speedy delivery of the relief goods to needy IDPs.”

Lessons from Sri Lanka

Najmuddin A Shaikh
Daily Times

This is a war for Pakistan’s survival. It must be fought without illusions and without yielding to the temptation to believe that one has credible and willing partners with whom a negotiated peace could be worked out

The curtain has at long last fallen on the destructive and polarising campaign of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, which claimed more than 70,000 lives over the last 26 years. Led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers pioneered the use of suicide bombers and were responsible for the assassination not only of Sri Lankan leaders but also of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Prabhakaran’s ruthlessness and total disregard for human rights did not appear to dent his hold on his people in the areas he controlled or even on the Tamils living abroad.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as the defence minister, adopted the same ruthlessness and disregard for human rights to achieve victory. From the Sri Lankan perspective, theirs was a desperate battle for survival as a united state. Previous efforts at finding a negotiated settlement had all foundered on the rocks of LTTE intransigence. Humanitarian concern about the innocent Tamils trapped and kept trapped by the LTTE for use as human shields was understandable but for the Sri Lankan army there was, in their view, no alternative to seeking an unconditional surrender, whatever the ‘collateral damage’.

Today there is outcry in the West about the manner in which the Sri Lankan army conducted operations and about the suppression of dissent in the Sri Lankan media. There is talk of denying Sri Lanka the IMF loan it desperately needs and withdrawing the preferential trading sights that it enjoys with the European Union. Yet the need of the hour is assistance for the refugees and for the more than a quarter of a million people who were more or less held hostage by the Tamil Tigers in their “last stand”.

There is further need to provide the political backing which ensures that the reconciliation process does not become hostage to the activities of Tigers sympathisers from across the narrow strait that separates Sri Lanka from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Much has been written about the role that external forces — be it the national government in India or the state government of Tamil Nadu or non-state actors — had played in fomenting the Sinhalese-Tamil divide or the rise of the LTTE. The international community must play its part in ensuring that this does not recur.

This should not be too difficult. The greatly strengthened Manmohan Singh government, with a minimal dependence on the regional political parties, will have the capacity to guarantee non-interference in Sri Lankan affairs.

All that the international community should insist upon thereafter as a condition for its assistance is that a clear path for reconciliation should be set out and be acted upon.

It is perhaps true that when the government was able to establish control in eastern Sri Lanka, it did not move in this direction. Perhaps the Rajapaksa government was too preoccupied with the continuing military campaign to do so. Perhaps it was because the long years of conflict have created distrust and even hatred that will take time to overcome. Many Tamils who opposed Prabhakaran and the LTTE have not joined the Sinhalese in celebrating the Tigers’ defeat because they did not hear in Rajapaksa’s victory speech any word on what his government intended doing to move towards reconciliation. Reconciliation is, however, the only way forward.

Are there any parallels between the situation in Sri Lanka and the counter-insurgency operation that we are now waging? If there are none, is there any prospect of such parallels developing in the future?

Currently there appear to be no parallels. The Taliban in Malakand are not reflecting Pashtun or Swati aspirations. Their agenda is to push their distorted interpretation of Islam down the throat of all Pakistanis and then move further afield. Whatever the movement started as, there is no doubt that it has been infiltrated and perhaps even taken over by criminal elements.

Underneath the surface, however, lies a simmering resentment that pervades all Pashtuns, be they in Afghanistan, Pukhtunkhwa or Karachi (which has more Pashtuns than either Peshawar or Kabul). In their perspective, whatever the reasons for the conflict or its prolongation, Pashtun blood is being spilled on both sides. It is Pashtuns who are branded as extremists even though it is Pashtuns who are the principal victims of the extremists. Many in this community have become paranoid enough to suggest that the “authorities” are using them as pawns to carry forward an agenda that has little to do with the genuine aspirations of the moderate Pashtuns.

For the Pashtuns, the massive exodus from Malakand, occasioned as much by fear of military action as by the atrocities committed by the Taliban is yet another indicator of the miseries that have been inflicted upon them for no fault of their own. Many can perhaps be persuaded that the fault lay with the American invasion of Afghanistan, but too many others recall how the setting up of Taliban recruitment centres in Swat and the tribal areas, long after the Soviets had left, contributed to the radicalisation of the region.

If we are not to return to the dreaded days of the past when many Pashtuns argued that there was no place for them in Pakistan, there are two things that must be done. First, the IDPs must be looked after not only in Pukhtunkhwa but also anywhere else in Pakistan. Equally or perhaps more importantly, the military operation must be brought to closure quickly. It is encouraging that people, at least in the thousands, have started returning to Buner and one can hope that the clearing of Sultanwas will hasten the process further. We must not, however, make the mistake of withdrawing the army immediately. The area must be cleared and then held.

We should acknowledge that the resistance has been stiffer than expected and that our present effort may need to be reinforced by further contingents from our eastern border, particularly if areas are to be held after they are cleared. The development of our civil armed forces and police will take time and the area cannot be abandoned.

I saw some evidence of a willingness to do this in the ISPR statement that the eastern border remained a long term threat while the internal threat was, at least by implication, more immediate. That resistance would be strong became evident when it was revealed that in the Peochar Valley, under the very eyes of our intelligence agencies, the militants had been able to build 80ft deep bunkers and other such defensive positions. In areas where the civil administration and the intelligence agencies were less visible, even more must have been done.

Sri Lanka does one offer one lesson. This is a war for Pakistan’s survival. It must be fought without illusions and without yielding to the temptation to believe that one has credible and willing partners with whom a negotiated peace could be worked out. The time for that has passed. The time for reconciliation will come when military victory has been achieved just as it has now come in Sri Lanka.

The writer is a former foreign secretary

Thousands flee as Waziristan tense

PESHAWAR: Residents of South Waziristan are fleeing the agency amid a build up of forces by the army and the Taliban.

“Mehsuds are leaving their areas in Sarwakai and Ladah tehsils for fears of an operation,” local sources told Daily Times. Former tribal MNA Maulana Mirajuddin confirmed “hundreds of thousands” of people were on the move.

There have been no reports that Ahmedzai Wazirs are migrating. The tribes are seeking an “unambiguous pledge” from Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir to stay away from Baitullah Mehsud if he fights against the army, Ahmedzai Wazirs elders told Daily Times by phone from Wana.

Unconfirmed reports say Nazir has told Baitullah: “I am ready to give you passage through Ahmedzai Wazir areas to Afghanistan if you want to fight the occupational forces there. But I cannot join you against the Pakistani forces...”

A group of elders attempted to meet Nazir on Thursday but could not because the Taliban leader is keeping his location secret to avoid a drone attack from the United States.

Pakistanis in Swat town fend off Taliban

ISLAMABAD — Armed residents foiled an attempt by Taliban militants to expand their reach in Pakistan's Swat Valley as foreign aid for refugees fleeing an army offensive in the northwestern region passed $200 million, officials said Thursday.
The attempted infiltration in Kalam indicated insurgents are feeling pinched by an army offensive and are seeking new shelter, while the local resistance suggested growing public confidence in an anti-Taliban operation supported by the United States.
Deputy Mayor Shamshad Haqqai told The Associated Press that about 50 Taliban fighters tried to enter Kalam, but that residents gathered quickly Wednesday to fight them off. They captured eight militants during a shootout and were expecting another attack, Haqqai said.
"We will not allow Taliban to come here," he said. Kalam, a town in the far north of the valley, has about 50,000 residents and has so far remained beyond Taliban control.
Washington has stepped up its pressure on Islamabad to eliminate al-Qaida and Taliban sanctuaries across its northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani troops launched the latest offensive last month after Swat militants pushed into adjacent Buner district, bringing them within 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the capital.
The army claims it has killed more than 1,000 militants and won back swaths of territory in Swat, a valley whose scenery once drew hordes of tourists. But it faces stiff resistance and has ventured no prediction of when the Taliban will be defeated.
On Thursday, it said five soldiers and an unspecified number of "miscreants-terrorists" were killed in battles in several parts of the valley during the previous 24 hours. Seven militants were captured, a military statement said.
The army's account was impossible to verify because reporters have little access to the war zone.
Authorities say the clashes have prompted about 1.9 million people to flee their homes, creating a humanitarian crisis that could sap Pakistani enthusiasm for the effort if it drags on or spreads to other areas.
Relatives have taken in most of those driven out of Swat, and officials have already declared some parts of Buner safe for refugees to return, despite continued clashes in the district.
However, Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever, the top U.S. military official at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, forecast Wednesday that between 200,000 and 250,000 will be living in refugee camps through the end of the year.
Many thousands more are believed to be hunkered down in their homes in areas including Kalam, unwilling or unable to move.
U.S. officials are scrambling to help the pro-Western government manage the refugee crisis and encourage it to sustain and expand its military action.
Hina Rabbani Khar, a government official overseeing the relief effort, said Thursday that foreign donors had pledged $224 million to help the displaced. The total includes $110 million pledged Tuesday by the United States.
As part of the American support, two U.S. military planes delivered air-conditioned tents and 120,000 pre-packed meals to an air base near the capital on Wednesday. Another flight was due Thursday.
At a donors' conference Thursday in Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asked aid groups and other countries to help quickly rebuild affected areas and help stabilize his nuclear-armed country.
"There is an urgent need for joint and comprehensive response to this issue by all those who are committed to fighting terrorism," Gilani said. "Without peace there can be no sustainable development and without development the establishment of enduring peace is impossible."

Egypt tycoon gets death for singer's slaying

CAIRO – A real estate mogul with ties to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's son was sentenced to death Thursday for ordering the slaying of a Lebanese pop star in a case that sparked a media frenzy in a country where the elite is often perceived as being above the law.
Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, was accused of paying a former Egyptian police officer $2 million to kill Suzanne Tamim while she was in Dubai.

Moustafa, who is married, and Tamim, who was 30 at the time of her death last July, were lovers before the relationship soured.
The former officer, Mohsen el-Sukkary, was also convicted and sentenced to death in a court session that quickly turned chaotic with police and Moustafa's relatives clashing with reporters scrambling for a reaction from the defendants to the verdict.
Moustafa's two daughters burst into tears after the verdict, and his sister fainted.
"This verdict is cruel," Sameer el-Shishtawi, one of Moustafa's lawyers told reporters outside the southern Cairo court. He said he would appeal and was confident the verdict would be overturned.
Both men had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Tamim's murder, and leaked images of her lying dead, her throat slashed, were the stuff of tabloid headlines across the Middle East — the story of a jilted lover who hired a thug to murder a beautiful diva.
Media frenzy prompted the judge impose a gag order and to close most of the 27 trial sessions to the public. Fueling the excitement were Moustafa's ties to Gamal Mubarak, who is often touted as his father's successor. Moustafa was a member the party's influential policies committee, which the younger Mubarak chairs.
Authorities maintain Moustafa paid el-Sukkary, a former State Security officer who worked for the tycoon at one of the Four Seasons hotels he owned in Egypt, to kill Tamim while she was staying in a luxury apartment in Dubai. Her friends have said she moved to London then Dubai after ending the relationship with Moustafa.
At the trial, authorities pointed to security footage of El-Sukkary in Dubai, blood-soaked clothes that were found dumped outside the building and the knife he used to slash Tamim's throat as evidence.
In Tamim's Aisha Bakkar middle-class Muslim district of Beirut, a picture of the slain singer hung above the door of the family's ground floor residence.
Najib Liyan, who identified himself as the family's lawyer, told APTN he was "grateful for the verdict."
"We had no doubt about justice," Liyan said. Still, he added, "no one can be happy about death, whether it is a crime or a death sentence."
Moustafa's trial marked the demise of one of the country's most prominent businessmen.
Over the past decade, he became one of Egypt's wealthiest men, building a real estate empire that included luxury hotels and resorts. He was also a leading force behind the rise of the pricey Western-style suburbs that ring Cairo.
Shares of Talaat Moustafa Group were down about 14.5 percent on the Egyptian stock exchange, trading at 4.22 Egyptian pounds by midday.
Tamim rose to stardom in the late 1990s but then hit troubled times, separating from her Lebanese husband-manager who filed a series of lawsuits against her.

COAS visits Daggar, briefed over ongoing army operation

RAWALPINDI-:Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today visited Daggar in Buner district to see first hand progress of operations on ground.

According to ISPR press release, he met the commanders and troops participating in ongoing operations and had informal discussion with them.

COAS appreciated the morale of troops. He was also briefed about operations by the field commanders.

On arrival in the area, he was received by the Corps Commander.

Pakistan aid crisis seen lasting all this year-US

WASHINGTON- Pakistan will likely have to cope with some 1.5 million people forced from their homes by fighting between troops and militants until the end of the year, a U.S. military official said on Wednesday.

Rear Admiral Michael LeFever, the U.S. defense attache in Pakistan, said the displaced population would change over time as troops cleared militants from some areas but the total would stay the same as the troops pressed on to other regions.

"This population will be a different population but the numbers will be consistent -- around the 1-1/2 million mark of total displaced personnel," LeFever said in a conference call with reporters at the Pentagon.

He cited Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani government's relief efforts, as the source of his information.

"General Nadeem has alluded... that he expects this number to potentially peak about the 2 million point and that will most likely occur in the next seven to 10 days," LeFever said.

He said the increase was expected as the Pakistani military moved into Mingora, the main town in the Swat valley region.

The United States on Tuesday offered Pakistan $110 million to help people driven from their homes by the fighting in Swat.

The Pakistani military launched its offensive in Swat this month after Taliban militants thrust from there into an area closer to the capital Islamabad, raising alarm both at home and abroad.

Around 200,000 to 250,000 of the displaced people are in camps while the rest stay with families, LeFever said.

LeFever was briefing reporters on the Pentagon's contributions to humanitarian efforts in Pakistan, which included the arrival on Wednesday of two C-17 aircraft loaded with relief supplies.

Pakistan's allies promise $224 mln for displaced

ISLAMABAD- Pakistan's allies promised $224 million in aid for about 1.5 million people displaced by an offensive against the Taliban after the government warned that the militants could exploit a failure to help.

The military launched an offensive this month in the picturesque Swat Valley and neighbouring districts to stop the spread of a Taliban insurgency that had raised fears for nuclear-armed Pakistan's future.

The United Nations has warned of a long-term humanitarian crisis and called for massive aid for the displaced, who have joined about 555,000 people forced from their homes by earlier fighting in the northwest.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told the donors' conference in Islamabad that Pakistan was issuing an urgent call for help from "all those who are committed to fighting terrorism".

Aid for the displaced would help win the battle against the Taliban, he said.

"It would also help in ensuring that the militants don't exploit the vulnerability of the displaced population ... We have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said.

Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar later told reporters donors had promised $224 million, including $110 million the United States promised on Tuesday.

That sum would go towards a flash appeal that the United Nations will launch on Friday in a bid to raise up to $600 million, she said.


Khar noted the latest call for aid comes amid the global financial crisis and a degree of "donor fatigue" just weeks after donors promised Pakistan more than $5 billion.

"By and large, we are very satisfied with the donors' response," Khar said.

The Obama administration is confident that Pakistan will not use a planned sharp increase in U.S. aid to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday. [ID:nN20538027]

The New York Times this week reported U.S. lawmakers were told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear capability while fighting a Taliban insurgency, stoking fears in Congress about diversion of U.S. funds.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday approved tripling U.S. economic aid to Pakistan to about $1.5 billion a year for each of the next five years, including money for Pakistani schools, the judicial system, parliament and law enforcement agencies.

The United States, which sees Pakistan as vital to its plan to defeat al Qaeda and bring stability in Afghanistan, has applauded Pakistani resolve to fight what some U.S. leaders have called an "existential threat" to the country.

Politicians and members of the public broadly back the offensive, but support will quickly evaporate if many civilians are killed or if the displaced languish in misery.

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

Pakistan says more than 1,000 militants and more than 50 soldiers have been killed in the fighting.

The estimate of militant casualties has not been independently confirmed. Reporters have left Swat and communications with remaining residents there have been disrupted.


After clearing many Taliban strongholds and supply depots in Swat's mountains, soldiers have begun battling militants in towns where many thousands of civilians are believed to be hiding.

Soldiers were battling militants on Thursday at a Taliban stronghold in a remote side valley off the main Swat valley, and in some Swat towns as well, the military said.

Five soldiers and an unspecified number of militants were killed, it said.

President Asif Ali Zardari has said Swat was just the beginning and the army would next move against militants in the Waziristan region on the Afghan border.