Waziristan operation defining battle in nation’s history: PM

* Meeting agrees operational success in NWA linked to national unity, peace and stability * All resources will be utilised to facilitate IDPs

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that Pakistan is fighting a defining battle of the nation’s history and terrorists will be defeated. 
The prime minister made these remarks while chairing a meeting on national security, which agreed that the operational success in North Waziristan is linked to national unity, peace and stability. It said there is a need to extend full support to the troops in the combat area. The meeting resolved that all possible resources would be allocated to look after the IDPs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Prime Minister Nawaz said that the operation “Zarb-e-Azb” requires countrywide harmony, and added that a peaceful environment in the country would benefit the soldiers fighting in the North Waziristan Agency. 
He expressed confidence that militants would be defeated in this war and the internally displaced persons from North Waziristan would be provided with every possible facility in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The meeting was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Information Minister Parvaiz Rashid, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq and SAFRON Minister Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch. During the meeting the Punjab chief minister briefed the prime minister about the Lahore incident. The chief minister said that “severe action” was being taken against those people who were involved, and no compromise would be made on justice.
The prime minister is said to have showed his displeasure over the role of his close associates in the entire saga. According to informed insiders of the PM Secretariat, Prime Minister Nawaz kept asking Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Hamza Shahbaz who ordered opening of fire on the unarmed civilians. “I will not let it go,” the PM reportedly said. Nawaz Sharif, according to sources, was angry over the fact that he was kept in the dark while the protest was developing into a tragic incident. 
The prime minister, who was in Tajikistan on Tuesday, was said to be completely clueless about the Lahore clash till his close associates updated him, but only after the damage had been done. “Why was I kept in the dark?” asked a furious Nawaz to Punjab chief minister, who fell short of answers. The prime minister came down hard on his aides for “totally manhandling” the Lahore episode that resulted in the killings of at least eight people when police opened indiscriminate fire on the supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Tuesday. 
The PM expressed deep grief over the deaths of the protesting PAT workers and said he will look into every aspect of the incident and ensure justice to the victims. He sympathised with the victims’ families over the incident. “Those responsible for the killings will be brought to justice,” the prime minister said. Chief Minister Shahbaz assured the meeting that he has never done “politics of bullets and sticks” during his entire political career. “If the judicial commission holds me responsible, I will step down,” he told the prime minister.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to discuss the military operation “Zarb-e-Azb” and the Lahore incident, an official press release said. During the meeting, sources said, it was expected that the names of those responsible for ordering fire at the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters would be disclosed, but no such details emerged. However, the PML-N leadership collectively condemned the episode. 

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