Pakistan has distributed 30,000 rifles among civilians in its northwestern villages to help fight against local militants, local newspaper reported Monday.
Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has directed officials to distribute 30,000 rifles among "patriotic people" and "peace loving groups" to guard their villages and help the police tackle terrorism, the English- language Daily Times newspaper said.
The government will take the arms back if they are not used against "terrorists and troublemakers", the newspaper quoted a statement as saying.
The statement said the chief minister had ordered the officials to "take proper guarantee from people" before handing out the rifles.
Pakistan has been in the fight against Taliban militants in its tribal belt along the Afghan border, but the government is seeking a peace deal with Taliban militants in the restive Swat valley of the NWFP.
The Taliban militants kidnapped the new District Coordination Officer of Swat on Sunday, but they claimed later that the officer was their guest and had been released in exchange for two Taliban militants.