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Gains in operations but NAP needs govt action: army

By Our Staff Reporter 2016-06-16
ISLAMABAD: As the army observed on Wednesday the second anniversary of Operation Zarb-i-Azb, it claimed major gains in military operations against terrorist groups in tribal areas, but conceded that the National Action Plan against terrorism was lacking.

`Eventually the objective is a terrorfree Pakistan. The state has to target extremism because extremism has a nexus with terrorism. This has to be done,` Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said while responding to a question at a presser at the ISPR about the banned organisations freely operating in the country.

The general specifically referred toNAP`s Clauses 3 (ban on formation of armed militias); 4 (revival of National Counter-Terrorism Authority); 7 (restriction on resurfacing of banned organisations); and 11 (bar on media to giving coverage to extremists and terrorists) that still required implementation.

The 20-point NAP adopted through consensus by political parties represented in parliament had elements that were to be executed by the military and those that were to be implemented by the government. The four clauses pointed out by the ISPR chief required government action.

`There were military parts of NAP and I can brief you on that,` the general said, adding that `Fata has been completely cleared. Intelligence-based operations (IBOs) are being carried out.They`ll continue. We have also initiated combing operations, whose scope and area is being widened.

Sharing the statistics about Zarb-iAzb in North Waziristan, he said, 3,500 terrorists were killed, 992 hideoutswere destroyed, 253 tonnes of explosives recovered, 7,599 Improvised Explosive Devices factories were smashed, besides seizing 2,841 and 35,310 mines and rockets, respectively.

Inachievingthis,henoted,490troops lost their lives.

Alongside Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan, the army had initiated IBOs in other parts of the country to pre-empt threat of backlash. So far 19,347 IBOshad been carried out in which 213 terrorists were killed.

In Punjab, 280 special IBOs were conducted after the Lahore Easter Day park bombing, which were referred to in the media as `Punjab Operation` Meanwhile, combing operations were started in April targeting terrorist sleeper cells. The combing operations have largely focused on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some 52 operations have been undertaken so far.

`These actions are yielding positive results,` Gen Bajwa observed.

He said the fight against terrorism and extremism was a long one, which had been successfully brought to a point where the country was getting relief.

Action against `roots of terrorism and extremism` would continue in other parts of the country, he added.The military spokesman said the next important tasks were the return and rehabilitation of internally displaced people and strengthening border management with Afghanistan.

`Sixty-one per cent of the IDPs have returned, while the remaining ones would be back by the end of the year, he said.

Regarding the Karachi operation, Gen Bajwa said 1,203 terrorists from Al Qaeda in the Subcontinent, Lashkar-iJhangvi, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Tehreek-i-Swat had been apprehended. This included 636 targeted killers from proscribed organisations and political parties.

`Karachiites are experiencing a major relief as life returns to normal there. The operation will continue,` he said.