ISLAMABAD – Ruling out any discrimination in operation against terrorists in North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan on Tuesday made it clear that it will never allow anyone to use its territory against any other country.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said this during a joint press briefing along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Asim Saleem Bajwa, held for foreign media on ongoing military operation 'Zarb-e-Azb' here.
Baloch said that anybody involved in terrorist activities will be eliminated irrespective of the fact to which group he belonged. He said that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from North Waziristan have given supreme sacrifices for Pakistan by leaving their homes and they were real national heroes. He thanked the Pakistan Army for providing support to the civilian administration to cope with the IDPs crisis.
The ISPR director general said that the Pakistan Army will eliminate Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah whenever he comes to Pakistan. He asked the Afghan government to play its role and either eliminate Mullah Fazlullah or extradite him to Pakistan. He said that terrorists of all hues and colours were being killed in the operation.
To a question, he said that it was totally Pakistan's own operation and Pakistan only requested Afghanistan and ISAF for sealing of the border so that the terrorists could not hide across the Durand line. He made it clear that drone attacks were not part of the plan as Pakistan was using its own air force very effectively and with precision.
He said that Pakistan had the estimated figure of terrorists in North Waziristan and not a single terrorist would be spared by the time of the completion of the operation. About the success of the operation, he said that the target was to re-establish writ of the state in the agency, eliminate all the terrorists and make the agency ready for development works like South Waziristan.
To a question about delay in operation, Abdul Qadir Baloch said that there was a popular demand that peace should be given a chance and the government was extremely sincere in talks but the Taliban broke the dialogue process and started terrorist activities. Unfortunately, he said FATA was neglected in the past due to which it could not be brought at par with the developed areas.
However, he said that the present government was fully committed to bring about change in FATA and introduce large-scale reforms. Pakistan has given great sacrifices in the war against terrorism and the terrorist sanctuaries present in FATA were not made by Pakistan. He said that Pakistan would not ask for any financial support from the international community but the world community should realise its responsibility and do what it was supposed to do.
He said that target was to break the TTP and there were clear signs that it was breaking. Bajwas said that the Pakistan Army would chase and hunt the terrorists to finish their capability to hit back. He said that North Waziristan had become hub of all terrorist activities so elimination of this sanctuary had become vital. To a question, the information minister said that Pakistan stance on drone attacks was very clear as they proved counter-productive.
He said that Foreign Office has already registered Pakistan's protest over recent drone attacks inside Pakistan's territory. Earlier, giving a presentation on the Zarb-e-Azb operation, the ISPR chief said that so far 376 terrorists have been killed. He said the troops have recovered underground tunnels and IEDs preparation factories inside the so far cleared area.
He said integrated fire of artillery, tanks and other heavy weapons was being carried out on terrorist's concentrations in the agency and effective cordon was in place at areas housing terrorists. Since start of the operation on June 15, 376 terrorists have been killed while 19 have surrendered to the security forces. He said that 61 terrorist hideouts have been destroyed while 19 soldiers have embraced martyrdom in the ongoing operation.