MINGORA: The Pakistan Army on Monday handed over administrative powers of the Swat region to the civil government after 11 years of military operation against Taliban in the district.

This marks the end of a decade-long military administrative control of Swat. Pakistan Army was called in the district and Malakand division by the then civil government under Article 254 of the Constitution in order to carry out military operation against Pakistani Taliban in 2007. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had challenged the writ of the government and weakened the local administration in Swat.

A ceremony was organized at the Saidu Sharif airport wherein Brigadier Naseem Anwar handed over the civilian powers to Commissioner of Malakand Division, Zaheerul Islam.

Brigadier Anwar while addressing the ceremony, said that the security powers are now transferred to the Saidu Sharif police.

General Office Commanding Major-General Khalid Saeed who was also present on the occasion said that people of Swat stood shoulder to shoulder with the military to defeat terrorists.

“After the restoration of peace, the army took an active part in rehabilitation works,” he said. The ceremony was also attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Nazeer Butt.

The local population fully supported the operation in which 300 military soldiers, 150 Frontier Corps (FC) men and 200 policemen were martyred.

Talking to media at the end of the ceremony, Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Salahuddin said that police force was well trained and prepared to replace Pak army and maintain law and order in the valley.