* Information minister says distribution of weapons among villagers would create more problems in some areas
PESHAWAR: The NWFP government on Saturday annulled its decision about distributing weapons among villagers to tackle the Taliban, saying it could create problems in some areas.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the NWFP cabinet with Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti in the chair.
The inspector general of police, the Special Branch deputy inspector general and the home secretary briefed the meeting about the security situation in the province and the return of peace in the restive Swat valley.
Briefing reporters about the decisions taken during the meeting, NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said the provincial cabinet had discussed the proposal regarding the distribution of weapons among villagers and had decided to reverse the decision, saying it would create more problems.
Iftikhar told reporters that the insurgency had caused damages worth Rs 32.21 billion to state-owned and private properties in Swat district. The minister said the losses to the public sector amounted to Rs 2.21 billion while those to the private infrastructure were worth Rs 32 billion.
He said 188 schools in the area were damaged during the violence in Swat. Of them, 122 schools were completely destroyed while another 66 were partially damaged.
Iftikhar said the provincial government would implement Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in Malakand division as per the promise made to the people of the area.
Regarding abductions for ransom in the province, particularly in Peshawar, the minister said the cabinet had directed the authorities to take immediate steps to tackle the situation.
Responding to a statement by Azam Khan Hoti, father of NWFP chief minister, pointing to risk attached with governor’s rule in the NWFP, Iftikhar said no one needed to comment after the clear-cut policy statement on the situation by Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali.