PTDC hotel set ablaze by Militants Swat Valley, Police check point and Girls’ school also targeted.
28 Jun 2008
Pakistan: June 27, 2008. (Jawad Mazhar reports for PCP) June 27th: Suspected militants set fire to a state-run Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) hotel at a ski resort in the picturesque Swat Valley
in the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan on Thursday June 26th. In separate incident unidentified militants in Swat Valley blew up a Police Check Point.
Swat Valley’s Police Chief Waqif Khan told PCP that radical elements assaulted during dead of the night and forced their way into the PTDC hotel, ransacked it and set it on fire. He went on saying that hotel building was damaged but no one was hurt during the militants’ attack.
Also Thursday, suspected militants killed a prominent tribal elder in the Shawar area of the Swat Valley, who had opposed the militants. They then set fire to his house and killed the tribal elder’s son and mother-in-law, Khan said.
The attack on the hotel and tribal elder’s home came ahead of the Peace Talks, supposed to be held on Thursday between the representatives of Pro-Taliban leader Mullah Fazl-Ullah and the Provincial Government of the NWFP in the north-western provincial metropolis Peshawar on the fate of a peace deal inked last month.
The deal had quelled violence in the scenic valley, formerly a popular tourist resort.
Waqif Khan the Swat Valley police Chief conceded that police have little sway in the area around the ski resort. “Local Taliban have control”, he added.
Muslim Khan, a militants’ spokesman denied setting the PTDC hotel fire. “Our target is the security forces, we have nothing to do with the hotel”, said insurgent spokesman. He also said that local villagers had appealed to his men to help them stop businessmen he referred to as ‘timber mafia’ cutting precious trees from the mountain slopes. Pro-Taliban spokesman added “There’s a third element which does not want the peace deal to succeed in the area,” apparently referring to the log poachers.