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Page last updated at 22:44 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 23:44 UK

Pakistani militants agree truce

Guns confiscated from militants in Swat on display in Mingora, 8 May
The army has been showing off arms captured in Swat

Pro-Taleban militants in Swat, a former popular tourist area in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, have signed a truce with the government.

Representatives of the two sides agreed to pursue a peace process through talks when they met at Fishing Hut Chakdara, in the Dir Lower district.

The government hopes to make the truce permanent at subsequent talks.

The militants are led by cleric Maulana Fazlullah who tried to impose Islamic law in the district last year.

Military operations against his forces were still continuing in recent days, with several suspected militants detained and weapons seized.

'Little Switzerland'

Muslim Khan, a spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah, told the BBC the militants did not wish to "spread anarchy in their own country".

Map Swat

Under the truce, government forces cease operations against the militants while the militants desist from attacking security forces or causing damage to government installations.

Wajid Ali Khan, regional minister in North West Frontier Province, said after the truce was signed that another round of talks would be held "for a permanent solution".

Swat, known to some as Pakistan's "Little Switzerland" because of its picturesque mountains, was occupied by Maulana Fazlullah's militants last year.

Thousands of troops arrived in November to drive them out, scaling the heights in surprise attacks in what was hailed as a successful; operation by the government.




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