Zardari vows to restore order to Swat
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday vowed to rein in Taliban militants in northwestern Swat valley, a spokesman said, amid efforts to wrest back the area.
Zardari spoke by telephone to a senior Swat politician, Afzal Khan Lala, to congratulate him over his "courageous stand" against militants and offered him full support, spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.
"The president vowed that the Taliban will not be allowed to set up parallel courts and call people to appear before them or face death," Babar said.
Pakistan's military is battling extremists loyal to radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah waging a violent campaign to introduce Islamic Sharia law in a valley that once attracted Western holidaymakers to its snow-capped peaks.
Fazlullah this week released the names of 40 people, including provincial ministers, MPs and local government officials "wanted" by the Taliban.
The cleric had told them to appear before a Taliban court or face death, blaming them for the unrest in the area.
Lala, a veteran politician of the ruling Awami National Party who lives in the rural town of Druskhela in the troubled Swat valley, had refused to leave the area after threats from militants.