A day after Pakistan invited Washington’s wrath for virtually abdicating to the militants by imposing the Islamic – Shariah – law in the region, Islamabad on Thursday said it had dispatched a platoon of its paramilitary Frontier Corps to the restive Buner district of the Swat Valley.
Media reports, citing police officials in the area, confirmed the arrival of the Frontier Corps platoon in Bner, but added that the convoy was attacked by militants soon after its arrival in the area. A policeman escorting the platoon as killed in the gun-battle.
Spiraling violence across Pakistan and the growing influence of the Taliban in its restive north-western provinces bordering Afghanistan have repeatedly touched off concerns over the stability of the nuclear-armed state.
Pakistani participation is crucial for the success of the west-backed war in land-locked Afghanistan.
In tacit acceptance of his government’s inability to quash the Taliban through force, President Asif Ali Zardari recently approved the imposition of the Shariah law in the Swat valley and adjoining areas, the decision drew sharp criticism from Western countries and liberal Pakistanis.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said the Zardari government had abdicated to the Taliban by agreeing to the Swat deal, setting off alarms in Islamabad, she added that Pakistan now posed a “mortal threat” to the world.
Meanwhile, visiting US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, met Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and other military officials to discuss security issues.
Officials refused to provide details of the meeting. Mullen arrived in Pakistan on a brief visit on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reiterated on Thursday that the government had agreed to Islamic law on the advice of a secular party that leads the provincial government, but it could review the pact if peace was not restored.
Militants earlier on Thursday set ablaze seven trucks carrying fuel to Western forces in Afghanistan on the outskirts of Peshawar – the main city in the region.