Friday 28 October 2016

Pak Political, Military Leaders Pledge to Eliminate Terrorism

Sajjad Hussain/Islamabad

Pakistan today said that the command and control system of local Taliban militants has been crippled due to the ongoing military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Pakistan political and military leadership met here discussed security situation in the country, especially in the wake of military operation in restive North Waziristan, and pledged to evolve a strategy to eliminate terrorism and extremism on long term basis.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the meeting of National Security Conference, comprising heads and representatives of all major political parties in National Assembly and the military leadership at his residence.

Sharif informed the meeting that there was no great threat of Taliban striking back as result of operation Zarb-e-Azb which was launched on June 15 after two-month-long peace talks with the Taliban failed.

"The likelihood of any blowback of operation is minimal," Sharid said in the opening remarks at the conference.

Former military chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had reportedly shelved plans to launch the offensive against the Taliban in 2010 fearing huge retaliations by the militants.

Director General Military Operations Major General Amir Riaz briefed the political leadership about the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said that militants were on the run and their command system was destroyed.

It was the first briefing since launch of operation in which more than 600 militants and over 35 soldiers have been killed. The operation has also displaced close to one million people.

"The Conference was also told that the terrorists are on the run and their command and control system had been crippled," a statement issued at the end of the day-long discussion said.

The statement didn't specify the steps taken to combat militant's retaliation.

The government has given vast powers to security institutions under recently passed Defence of Pakistan Act to deal with militants.

Participants of the conference were informed about the areas cleared by the armed forces during the operation.

The Political and military leadership showed commitment to fight militancy till its end, the statement said.

"It was noted with pleasure that the whole nation including political parties had rejected terrorists and their ideology...Representatives of all political and religious parties agreed that state has to fight and eliminate militancy," it said.

"There was absolute unanimity of views on the need to evolve a strategy to eliminate terrorism on long term basis. Meeting also agreed to work to address extremism," according to the statement by the government.

The meeting was apprised that through coordinated efforts of armed forces, financing of terror outfits is being blocked.

Afrasiyab Khattak of Awami National Party later said at a private TV talk show that the army has not given any deadline for winding up the operation but the army chief promised that it will be concluded soon.

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