ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army has declared that operation in North Waziristan is targeted against all terrorists, without any discrimination between the so-called ‘good Taliban’ or ‘bad Taliban’.
“No question of discrimination. They all are terrorists. And anyone who challenges the writ of the state will be eliminated,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asim Bajwa told a select group of journalists at the General Headquarters on Thursday. He dispelled the impression that army was ‘facilitating’ certain terrorist groups, adding that ‘for military, there is no discrimination among different Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) groups or the Haqqani Network’. “Army will crush them all.”
The ISPR DG said that besides local Taliban terrorists, a large number of Uzbek and other foreign terrorists were also present in North Waziristan. “They will also all be wiped out,” he said, and maintained that operation Zarb-e-Azb is the ‘beginning of the end of terrorism in Pakistan’.
Major General Bajwa said the North Waziristan operation was being conducted by our own forces, with no foreign country having any role in it. “This is not a Pak-US joint military action. We are capable enough to conduct such operations,” he said.
The DG said that the operation was launched on the orders of the government and decision for it was made at the political level. He rejected the impression that the political and military leaderships of the country were not on the same page regarding the launch of the offensive and that the army had launched the operation in disregarding opinion of the government which preferred peace dialogue with the TTP. “It was a political decision. We followed the orders.”
Major General Bajwa dubbed the ongoing operation the war of survival of Pakistan. He urged the nation to support armed forces in their effort to flush out the menace of terrorism from the country. He also asked the media to raise awareness among the people about the objectives of the operation and clear any misperceptions in this regard.
The DG said operation Zarb-e-Azb was a collective effort to eliminate terrorists from the country. He said army troops, FC, Khassadar, Levis, intelligence agencies and PAF were jointly conducting the operation. He said even the Afghan government has been requested to take action against those terrorists who had crossed over the border to avoid action and were hiding in Kunar and Nuristan provinces.
He said some 327 hardcore terrorists had been killed and 45 hideouts destroyed in North Waziristan so far during the operation. Ten soldiers embraced martyrdom while 19 terrorists surrendered to the armed forces, he added.
He said only a few hundred persons have opted to stay in the camps set up for the IDPs.
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