Peshawar, Apr 28 (ANI): More than 30,000 people in Lower Dir have been displaced by a Pakistani military offensive to flush out Taliban militants.
Thousands of terrified women and children left the area after troops and helicopter gunships launched Operation Black Thunder
"Up to 30,000 people have left Maidan in Lower Dir district over the past few days," Iftikhar Hussain, the NWFP Information Minister, told reporters here.
"We are making arrangements for them in Peshawar, Nowshera and Timargarah districts," he said.
One local charity said it had registered 2,241 displaced families so far.
The NWFP Information Minister has justified the Dir operation, saying it was a consequence of the Taliban challenging the writ of the government.
"The government will defend its writ but won't make the first move," The Dawn quoted Hussain, as saying.
"The government needed to deploy security forces in Buner because the militants were challenging its writ," he added.
The military said eight paramilitary soldiers had also been killed since it launched Operation Black Thunder on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan's Minister for Interior Affairs Rehman Malik said that nearly 450 militants were reportedly holed up in Buner and security forces killed 70 militants in Lower Dir.
Talking to journalists outside the Parliament, Malik said the government would take strict action against the miscreants.
To a question, Rehman Malik said the writ of the state was challenged in Lower Dir area, which could not be endured.
According to security sources, two top commanders Qari Quresh and Maulana Shahid, were also killed by the Frontier Corps troops in Maidan area of Lower Dir. (ANI)