In a huge breakthrough following years-long struggle to restore law and order in the militancy-plagued Swat valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Pakistan Army transferred administrative control of the region to civil administration at a ceremony attended by senior civil and military officials on Monday. KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Nazir Ahmed Bhut, GOC Swat Major General Khalid Saeed, KP Police Inspector General (IG) Salahuddin Mehsud and elders of the area were also in attendance. The chief minister was handed over memorandum of understanding (MoU) of the administrative authority, while the symbol of authority was given to Malakand commissioner and the regional police officer (RPO). Addressing the ceremony, the chief minister lauded the Pakistan Army for eliminating terrorism from the scenic Swat valley. The transfer of powers, he said, would be part of the history following years-long struggle against the scourge of terrorism. He recalled that militants in the past had played havoc with the lives and properties of innocent people. He appreciated Pakistan Army, police and other law enforcement agencies for defeating the reign of terror and restoring durable peace and tranquillity in the area. The people of Swat have matchless contribution in this regard, he said, adding that in the subsequent development the Pakistan Army took active part in social welfare activities. He went on to say that civil administration left no stone unturned in handling the post-operation activities in an efficient way. He reassured the people of Swat that development projects and other schemes launched in the region would be completed within the stipulated time. He said that local administration and police should adopt concrete measures for the progress and prosperity of the people and development of the region. Speaking on the occasion, the Peshawar corps commander recalled that over three million people of Swat region had to migrate to safer places because of militancy in the area. The Pakistan Army, he said, successfully flushed out terrorism from the region within four months. He said that efforts were expedited at that time to repatriate the displaced families within shortest possible time. “The people of Swat have faced terrorism with courage. Peace has now returned to areas and development of Swat is underway,” he added. He said that army would protect the frontiers of the country and now it is the responsibility of the civil administration and police to serve diligently. On the Pak-Afghan border, he said that the border areas were being fenced to ensure security. He added that anti-state elements were trying to create law and order situation from across the border areas. Published in Daily Times, October 23rd 2018.