Peshawar residents wary of militant rise

Oct. 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- A women's rights representative in northwestern Pakistan said it's clear that militants in the region aren't receding into the background.

A lawyer in Peshawar told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN on condition of anonymity that there were "many reasons to believe" that an alliance between "certain militants" and the military continue.

"Oh yes, the militants are definitely still around," said Gul Lalay, director of women's rights group House of Sisters said. "We have encountered problems with them in Dir district, which borders Swat, and elsewhere, and they clearly haven't been vanquished."

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt against 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who had spoke out in defense of the right to an education.

Margaret Sekaggya, the U.N. envoy on human rights defenders, said the Pakistani government had a right to protect people like Malala.

"Attempting to assassinate a 14-year-old girl who has the courage to speak out and claim the legitimate right of a generation of girls to receive an education is a shocking attack on human rights defenders in Pakistan," she said in a statement.

Pakistani forces intervened against militants in the region in 2009. Swat district police office Rasool Shah told IRIN "a new operation may be launched here against the Taliban, but nothing is formal yet."

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