Islamabad - The unabated wave of deadly attacks on security forces and civilians in different parts of the country has prompted the top security bosses to review the security strategy to neutralise the hostile militant factions sabotaging the peace initiatives.
Amid no let-up in terror attacks, the military establishment has purportedly briefed the ruling gurus that the use of force against the miscreants has become inevitable. In this regard, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is said to have conveyed to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that recent attacks on the security forces were not likely to stop unless some hostile groups of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were neutralised. The development surfaced on Tuesday, with the army chief having called on the PM to brief him about the security situation in the country.
“The policy of inaction costs us dearly,” said an intelligence insider while quoting the COAS as briefing the PM. “Soon, there would be a change (in policy), a visible one,” the source said in an implied reference to the army’s prevailing policy of following a ceasefire vis-à-vis TTP in line with the government’s efforts to make peace with the hardcore terrorists by means of holding dialogue with them. Reportedly, the PM and the army chief shared a unanimity in the view that that the terrorists would not be allowed to keep striking with impunity. “Peace talks or no peace talks. Bloodshed has to stop,” the intelligence insider summed up the meeting’s agenda.
It merits a recall here that The Nation on Tuesday exclusively reported that the army chief would meet the PM to brief him about the existing security situation, in the story headlined “COAS to meet PM to discuss retaliation.”
When approached, the PM Spokesman and Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid did not share the specifications discussed in the PM-COAS meeting. He said the government pursued the peace talks process with utmost sincerity. To a query, he said the government had in store the ‘other options’ in case the peace talks ceased to work. “It would be extremely unfortunate if these talks fail. But we have other options. We have to restore peace and the writ of state at any cost, either through amicable means or with the use of force. Whether we go for the second option depends on the first option’s outcome.”
The intelligence source said certain TTP factions including that of the Mohmand Agency chapter were against the peace talks. “They need to be neutralised even if the peace talks are to be proceeded ahead.”
Unilaterally been followed so far, the ceasefire period has seen dozens of deadly attacks on the civilian population, polio workers and the security personnel.
Alone on Tuesday, a major-ranked officer of Pakistan Army lost his life when the reported terrorists from TTP attacked a military vehicle in Peshawar. Three militants were also said to be killed in the reported exchange of fire between the military and miscreants. Separately, a police mobile was attacked in Hangu the same day. The number of casualties was not known till filing of this report on Tuesday night.
The deceased victim of Peshawar assault was identified as Major Jahanzeb Adnan, 31, hailing from Multan. He is survived by a wife and three children.
Earlier on Monday, a Pakistan Army sepoy was killed when the militants stormed a check post in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) at Ladha, an area that has the dominant influence of TTP commander Khan Said Sajna. The deceased soldier was identified as Mehrab. He is survived by a wife and a son.
Prior to that, 23 Frontier Corps (FC) men were slaughtered and 13 police commandos were killed in Karachi. Nine members of a pro-government tribal militia were killed in Peshawar and a pro-government tribal elder was fatally targeted in Orakzai Agency. Several other terror incidents having taken place in the recent days resulted in the loss of several lives including those of the security personnel and the civilians.
In the 169th Corps Commanders Conference held on February 10, the army commanders had pledged to follow the policy of ceasefire during peace talks with the militants in compliance with the government’s related decision but reiterated to retaliate in response to any direct attack on the security personnel.
Agencies add: Separately, gunman on a motocycle fired on a vehicle being used by French aid organisation ACTED near Kohat on Tuesday, wounding the driver, police said.