Pak Army's plans to use private militia against Taliban may backfire: Report

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Washington, Sep.18 (ANI): The Pakistan Army's initiative to sponsor local militias, or the lashkars, as they are commonly known, may have been working in its favour against the Taliban, however some people feel such move could back fire in future.

Backed by the Army, which had initiated an all out operation against the Taliban in Swat and Malakand Divisions in April, more than 8,000 villagers living across the region have joined these militias to try to keep the Taliban away from their villages.

Military officials are encouraging people to join hands with the troops against the extremists and carrying out special drives for forming such lashkars.

"The military is going village to village, speaking with elders and encouraging them to form their own lashkars and unite with existing ones," said Swat military spokesman Major Mushtaq Khan.

While the Army considers that its initiative would yield positive results and prevent the Taliban's onslaught in the region, experts have raised questions over it saying the move could have catastrophic effect in future.

"They could be temporarily used in some areas where the Taliban are weak or heavily resented, like in Swat. But at the end of the day, the villagers need to do their work; they can't be armed every night," The Christian Science Monitor quoted, Rahimullah Yusufzai, a well-known journalist, as saying.

"Creating these private militias may work in the short-run, but what if they later turn on each other to settle personal scores?" usufzai asked

Experts said the military should think twice before trying to extend the experimant into Pakistan's other tribal agencies, where the Taliban still maintains a strong grip.

"It's a very interesting experiment. But if it works in Swat, this can't be replicated anywhere else, because the guys that they were pitted against were way too powerful, the murder of Qari Zainuddin was a case in point," said Rifaat Hussain, an analyst at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. (ANI)

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