Pakistani authorities have released 12 Taliban fighters in a bid to consolidate a pact struck last month with Islamists in the northwestern Swat valley, a senior government official said on Sunday.
The Taliban fighters were released on Saturday night after talks between North West Frontier Province (NWFP) authorities and representatives of the Taliban and the Islamists, officials said.
"It was one of the demands of the Taliban. It was a goodwill gesture. We have fulfilled it and we hope now they will play their part for peace," Syed Mohammad Javed, Commissioner of Swat, told Reuters.
NWFP authorities sealed the pact with an influential cleric in Swat, Maulana Sufi Mohammad.
They agreed to enforce Islamic sharia law in the region.
Mohammad this month called on the government and the Taliban to release each other's prisoners by March 10. The fighters released seven government officials and soldiers last month.
Taliban fighters announced a ceasefire on Feb. 24 and Pakistani forces have also halted operations in Swat, a former tourist destination in the mountains just 130 km (90 miles) north of the capital, Islamabad.
Mohammad has also set a deadline of March 15 for the government to enforce sharia law in the region or face protests. NWFP officials have assured him his demand will be met.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Mart 2009, 11:32