Washington, May 11 (ANI): President Asif Ali Zardari has said he knew the Swat peace deal with the Taliban would not work, even as the Pakistan Army intensified its operation against the militant group in the troubled region.
The Pakistani Army’s advance in Swat marks the failure of Islamabad’s boldest attempt yet to compromise with the Taliban. In February, Islamabad had agreed to implement Islamic law in Swat in return for a cease-fire.
Though President Zardari signed the deal into law, he had repeatedly hesitated to do so – weighing American opposition against Pakistan’s widespread desire for a peaceful end to the fighting, The Christian Science Monitor reports.
The collapse of the deal has borne out Zardari’s original qualms. “I didn’t think it would work, because the Taliban are not a rational people,” he said.
Zardari said Pakistan has 125,000 troops on the ground. Although more soldiers might improve the situation, “we think they are sufficient.”
The Pakistani Army continued its latest bid to stop the Taliban from moving closer to Islamabad. The offensive in the strategically important Swat Valley is intense, already forcing some 200,000 residents to flee – a number that could increase to a half million.
In what is perhaps an indication that the Taliban have overplayed their hand, the Army appears to be moving against the threat seriously.
Zardari said Pakistan is involved in “a war of our existence.” But he did not believe the Taliban could overthrow Islamabad. “We have a threat, yes, but a collapse, no,” he added. (ANI)