International

Curfew Relaxed in Swat to Let Civilians Flee

To let civilians trapped in the war zone in Swat valley flee, Pakistani authorities on Friday temporarily lifted a curfew. Earlier, more that 800,000 people evicted the place and took shelter in relief camps.

Pakistan launched an army offensive against Taliban militants in North-West Frontier Province last week following pressure from US and the West.

According to information, the curfew was lifted for eight hours in Minogra, Swat’s main town which the Taliban still control, and other areas.

“We have been waiting for the curfew to be lifted as the fighting has intensified and our food was almost finished,” said Mohammad Zari, fleeing Minogra on foot with his family.

The Army, which is surrounding Minogra, disallowed private cars from entering the town but the government laid on 150 vehicles about 8 km (five miles) southwest to take people away, the military said.

As per the figures, at least 830,000 people have fled from their homes and joined more than 500,000 displaced by earlier fighting in the northwest.

In the meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees called massive aid to ward off a tragedy.

Residents began fleeing late last month when the army attacked the Taliban in two districts near Swat they had occupied in violation of a February peace pact aimed at ending violence in the former tourist valley.

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