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Military operation in Pakistan to continue during Ramadan

By Xinhua,

Islamabad : The military offensive against pro-Taliban insurgents in northwestern Pakistan will continue during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a military official said Saturday.

Major General Athar Abbas, spokesman for Pakistan Army, made this announcement, which is contrary to the statement by Rehman Malik, advisor to Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani.

Earlier Malik told reporters that the military operation in the tribal regions of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province would be suspended from Aug 31, two days before the month begins.

“We are suspending the operation in Bajaur in respect to the holy month of Ramazan,” Malik said.

However, Abbas told the private Dawn TV that the operation would continue as usual during Ramadan, which is likely to begin in Pakistan Sep 2 or 3.

The local Taliban announced unilateral ceasefire last week but the government has rejected the offer and continued the operation.

Over 200 militants, civilians and security men have been killed in the fighting started earlier this month in Bajaur, bordering Afghanistan.