Hunza News

PM to brief NA on military action

Share This Post

ISLAMABAD: The commencement of a military operation against militants in North Waziristan on Sunday was welcomed by most major political parties and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to take parliament into confidence over the operation on Monday.

HunzaNews, June 16th, 2014

According to sources in the PM Office, Mr Sharif will be attending Monday’s session at the National Assembly, where he is expected to make a policy statement over Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), however, announced that it would convene a core committee meeting to decide whether to support the military operation or not. PTI chief Imran Khan has said in the past that an operation in North Waziristan is ill-advised and that the government should take action only against those groups who are unwilling to negotiate.

Meanwhile, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) emerged as the only party that opposed the operation outright, expressing fears that only innocent people and not terrorists will bear the brunt of the violence.

Most political parties announce support; JI, PTI still sceptical

In a handout issued on Sunday afternoon, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) formally announced that a military operation, codenamed Zarb-i-Azb, had been initiated in the North Waziristan agency.

According to an ISPR official, Zarb-i-Azb refers to the strike of a sword said to have been wielded by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the Battle of Uhad.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif then appeared on TV channels to confirm the start of the operation and vowed that “the operation will continue till the elimination of last terrorist”.

The defence minister said the operation was launched following the collapse of talks between the government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban. “These terrorists have challenged the writ of the state, rejected its Constitution and are killing innocent people and security personnel,” he said.

Mr Asif said the government had taken the decision to launch the operation after a cost-benefit analysis of the aftermath of the operation, adding that the government had also come up with a plan to cope with those who will be displaced by the military action.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Information Minister Pervez Rashid appealed to the nation to stand behind the government and the armed forces in this war against terrorism.

He said the government had gone for dialogue first, but they continued to kill innocent people despite their overtures to peace. “But now they will either surrender or face defeat,” he said.

Irfan Siddiqui, one the PM’s advisers who was also involved with the dialogue process, told Dawn that the government had done everything in its power to negotiate a peaceful settlement, but there was no reciprocation from the other side.

PTI spokesperson Shireen Mazari was reluctant to give a policy statement on the operation. “The prime minister should have taken the political leadership into confidence about the operation and the PTI’s core committee is meeting on Monday to give a detailed response in the wake of new developments,” she told Dawn.

PTI governs the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) which borders the tribal areas and it is believed that the PTI’s support is the key in order to ensure the operation’s success.

The Leader Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah of the PPP, welcomed the decision to launch an operation but also demanded that the PM come to parliament and take the political leadership into confidence.

PPP leader and Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said provincial governments now have to take preventive measures to cope with a terrorist backlash.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain fully endorsed the military offensive. In a statement issued from London, Mr Hussain offered to extend ‘unconditional cooperation’ to the armed forces and assured them that MQM workers were ready to fight alongside them.

JI emir Sirajul Haq, voicing his opposition to the operation, said the government was not sincere with talks from the outset. “The government should have consulted the country’s political leadership and the KP government before launching the operation,” he said.

He said that his party had mobilised its cadres and that its workers along with members of the Al-Khidmat Foundation would take care of those affected by the operation.

Another leader of JI Professor Ibrahim told Dawn that terrorists will manage to escape from North Waziristan while innocent people will be targeted in the operation.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl spokesperson Jan Achakzai said an operation in North Waziristan will not end terrorism in the country unless a clear policy against militancy was adopted.

“Unless a clear decision is taken on the strategic, ideological, political and foreign policy levels and those decisions are backed by concrete steps, we will see more of the same,” he added.

“Rather than focusing on a particular group of militants, the government must work to restore the writ of the state in very corner of the country,” he said.

Defence analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi said the army required the complete support of the nation, politicians and civil society in the operation. He said the army had about two weeks to meet its main objectives.

Retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum told Dawn that thousands of foreign nationals, including those of Uzbek origin, were said to be hiding in North Waziristan.


More To Explore