ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday said the surge in operations against terrorists and criminals was apolitical, across the board and focused on achieving peace in the country.
Chairing a conference of the Pakistan Army’s corps commanders at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, General Sharif said with overwhelming support from the entire nation, operation Zarb-i-Azb had inflicted significant damage on terrorists.
According to a press release from the ISPR, Pakistan Army’s public relations wing, the corps commanders conference took serious notice of India’s spy agency’s— RAW (Research & Analysis Wing)— alleged involvement in “whipping up terrorism” in Pakistan.
The conference also reviewed professional matters of the army and the country’s domestic and external security situation, including the progress of operation Zarb-i-Azb.
General Sharif said precision targeting of terrorists in isolated pockets of Fata will continue. He directed all concerned officials to intensify intelligence-based operations against criminals, terrorists and their abettors in the country’s urban areas.
The army chief said a terror-free Pakistan had now become a national resolve, adding that the sacrifices of Pakistan’s soldiers and civilians will not go waste.
“We will take this war to its logical conclusion. The dignity and honour of our country, its people and gallant armed forces will be safeguarded at all cost,” he added.
The army is currently engaged in operations in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions. Zarb-i-Azb, a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who had been hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan, was launched last year, a week after the brazen insurgent attack on the country’s busiest airport in Karachi.
The army has also intensified its operations in Khyber with security officials claiming that a noose has been tightened around terrorists and large swathes of the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency.
Moreover, the army says that the Khyber-I and Khyber-II military offensives have produced effective results when it comes to countering militancy in the tribal region. The nucleus of Khyber-II has been Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley, an easy place to hide due to its isolated and largely inaccessible geography.
The military recently claimed to make significant headway in its offensive in Tirah’s rugged network of peaks and vales with forces taking control of the entire Sipah and Akkakhel areas in the valley last month after flushing out Lashkar-i-Islam activists from these areas. The army also mounted a series of air strikes and ground assaults in Tirah in recent weeks that it says led to the capture of key passes in a remote region that has never before come under full government control.
The army has also been engaged in the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), a counter-terrorism plan drafted in the wake of the deadly Peshawar school attack that killed over 150 people, most of them children.