PESHAWAR - Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday said that the state is entering the most difficult phase of the military operation which caused massive displacements in the north-western tribal areas of the country.

“We are in the most difficult phase of the operation after successfully evicting terrorists from their sanctuaries and restoring the writ of the state,” said the army chief while speaking at a special meeting of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Apex Committee at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar.

The meeting laid special focus on the return of Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) and discussed the progress of ongoing military operations and intelligence-based operations (IBO) in KP and Fata.

He elaborated that physically rebuilding the war-damaged areas, resettling of TDPs and eventually establishing an administrative system that focuses on the needs and aspirations of the people will be the most demanding task.

The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Governor Mehtab Abbasi, Peshawar corps commander and other high officials from KP and Fata.

“With unflinching resolve and courage, our proud tribesmen of Fata and people of KP stood up to atrocities of the terrorists, pushed them back and marginalised them in the society, which deserves highest of accolades,” the ISPR reported the army chief as saying.

Paying rich tributes to the resilience and sacrifices of the people, he said, “Together, Insha Allah, with our tribal brethren we shall ensure that terrorists and their facilitators are never allowed to return to these areas.”

Some 93,000 families – up to 750,000 people – were displaced inside Pakistan after Pak Army launched a long-awaited offensive in June 2014 against Taliban and other foreign militants, who have long used the lawless tribal region as a launch-pad for attacks.

Army chief reiterated his commitment with tribal brethren, to rebuild the area and revive entire socio-economic infrastructure. He emphasized on all concerned to expedite the resettlement process and meet timelines by removing impediments which are causing delay in timely completion of the work.

The governor and chief minister appreciated the whole hearted support of Pakistan Army and reiterated the resolve of Fata administration and the provincial government to rid the province of terrorism and extremism and pave way for development and well being of the people.

Fata has been severely affected by unrest and military operations over the past decade. Last year, the number of families displaced by fighting from different tribal areas was estimated at 260,000.

Military operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched by the Pakistan Army on June 15, 2014 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport which led to the failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.