LAHORE - Fresh countrywide information-gathering exercise, with a focus on Karachi and Punjab, has been launched to neutralise the terror financiers and facilitators, it is learnt.

Contacts close to the state security services told The Nation on Friday that a new operation has been put into action to completely cut the lifeline (financiers and facilitators) of the terror networks.

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif during a visit to Khyber Agency last month had vowed to apprehend all terrorists, their facilitators and financiers to achieve the objective of a terror-free Pakistan. “Noose has been tightened and terrorists will not be allowed to re-establish themselves,” he said had told troops.

The sources said information gathering will be accelerated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, but Punjab and Karachi would be focused in the fresh drive as they were more “sensitive” with regard to the number of terror financiers and facilitators and also because KP and Balochistan were already under the high priority of the security agencies.

They informed that lists of suspected terror facilitators and financiers would be reviewed to sift out possible targets for putting them on surveillance list, besides apprehending the ‘sure’ aides of terrorists.

Interior ministry officials said that thousands of intelligence-based and intelligence-led operations had been conducted in different parts of the country since June last year when operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched. As a result of these operations scores of terror financiers and facilitators were neutralized and a number of high-ranking commanders of outlawed TTP and al-Qaeda were taken out.