Home Uncategorized PM Sharif says anti-terror campaign to be intensified, no new military offensive

PM Sharif says anti-terror campaign to be intensified, no new military offensive


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif clarified in the face of intense opposition criticism on Tuesday that the planned counterterrorism campaign would entail intensifying ongoing intelligence-based operations (IBOs) rather than launching a new, organised military offensive.
The clarification followed PM Sharif’s announcement of Monday night that the anti-terror campaign he had earlier announced would not be a kinetic large-scale military operation nor would it entail mass displacements of local populations.
On Saturday, PM Sharif had announced plans to launch a full-scale offensive, named “Azm-e-Istehkam (Resolve for Stability)”, to eliminate terrorism and extremism.
The announcement drew sharp reactions from opposition parties, with analysts saying that Chinese concerns about attacks on its nationals had likely influenced the Pakistani leadership, but the new operation’s timing was potentially driven more by domestic politics and economic considerations.
However, staunch opposition to his move prompted Sharif to retract from his earlier stance. “The PM took cabinet members into confidence regarding misunderstandings and speculation regarding ‘Vision Azm-e-Istehkam’,” the PM’s office said.
The aim of the campaign, Sharif said, was to “decisively root out from the country the remnants of terrorists, the crime and terrorism nexus and violent extremism”.
Meanwhile, defence minister Khawaja Asif said a majority of operations under “Azm-e-Istehkam” will be conducted in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan, Pakistan’s two volatile provinces in the northwest bordering Afghanistan. “This operation will be slightly different from previous ones. It will commence with actions against terrorists. The operation has no political motive, its sole purpose is to counter the surge in terrorism,” the minister said.
“We fought two wars under the Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf regimes for US interests. This operation, however, is being conducted on our own terms, not at the behest of China or anyone else,” he said.
The defence minister assured that there would be no evacuations during this operation.

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