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Pakistan considers Sharia law

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is considering enforcement of Islamic laws in Pakistan's north-western Swat valley to meet the demands of pro-Taliban militants who briefly seized and then released around 100 security personnel after nine days' fierce fighting that left more than 200 people dead.

"The government is considering the implementation of Sharia law in the view of the demands of the local people," said Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, governor of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) in which the valley is situated.

"We are trying to resolve the issue through negotiations but if required force will also be used," the DawnNews channel cited him as saying.

The statement came as the Islamic militants said they had released 120 soldiers captured after the clashes in Swat, some 160 kilometers from the NWFP capital Peshawar.

"They have gone to their home towns and they have promised not to work with the security forces in the future," the militants' spokesman Maulana Sirajuddin told reporters.

"They were taken into protective custody," according to Sirajuddin, who had earlier said the policemen and soldiers had surrendered voluntarily Friday night because "we assured them that they would be allowed to return to their homes safely."

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