ISLAMABAD - In just 12 months the reliable Pak forces have silenced almost all the guns that were targeting innocent lives and the terror-hit nation can now expect a positive conclusion soon.

In a country where suicide attacks and terrorism acts had become a daily routine, operation Zarb-e-Azab came as a breath of fresh air after the civil and military leadership vowed to fight until the last terrorist’s elimination.

There were a few hesitations in the beginning. Some feared the reaction and others thought the battle could possibly last longer. The valiant forces proved these views wrong as they thrashed the militants.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a joint military offensive of the armed forces against various militant groups, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jundullah, Al-Qaeda, East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Haqqani Network, was launched on June 14 last year in the restive parts of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata).

About 30,000 Pakistani soldiers are taking part in Zarb-e-Azb, described as a ‘comprehensive operation' to flush out all foreign and local militants hiding in the North Waziristan Agency and the adjoining areas.

The operation has been receiving a widespread support from the political, defence and civilian sectors of the country.

Before the launch of Zarb-e-Azb, peace negotiations with the Taliban were announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, though previous attempts to engage the Taliban in dialogue had failed.

The TTP did not name representatives from their ranks, but nominated pro-Taliban religious figures to present their views. The movement called for the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in Pakistan whereas the government demanded the cessation of hostilities, insisting that talks be held within the framework of the constitution of Pakistan.

The negotiations involved helicopter travel by government representatives to the area near the Afghan border. The government had indicated that a very severe military action would be taken if the talks failed.

The negotiations collapsed on February 17, 2014, as the Taliban executed 23 Frontier Corps soldiers held by them in 2010. On April 17, 2014, the TTP formally agreed to ceasefire.

The operation began one week after a terrorist attack on Pakistan’s busiest airport. On June 8, 2014, 10 militants from the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, killing 28 people, including security personnel, and wounding at least 18.

The Pakistani military had prepared for the operation long before. The government prepared a three-front operation: Isolating targeted militant groups, obtaining support from the political parties and saving civilians from the backlash of the operation.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the nation stood by its military, “The decision was taken after the strategy of dialogue failed. The operation will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion. Any group that challenges Pakistan’s constitution, attacks civilians, soldiers, and government installations and uses Pakistani territory to plan terrorist attacks will be targeted.”

"The decision was taken after the strategy of dialogue failed. The operation will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion. Any group that challenges Pakistan's constitution, attacks civilians, soldiers, and government installations and uses Pakistani territory to plan terrorist attacks will be targeted".

On Saturday, military spokesman Asim Bajwa said that the operation Zarb-e-Azb has moved to last few pockets close to Pak-Afghan border. He said in the last one year 2,763 terrorists have been killed, 837 hideouts destroyed and 253 tons of explosives recovered.

He claimed that significant achievements had been made in FATA especially in North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies. "Terrorists' communication, infrastructure and sanctuaries have largely been cleared", he added.

General Bajwa said 9,000 intelligence based operations were carried out, apprehending thousands of terrorists and their abettors.

"218 hard core terrorists were killed in cities. During the operation, 347 officers and soldiers embraced martyrdom. 18,087 weapons including machine-guns, light machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and AK-47s were seized from terrorist hideouts in North Waziristan alone", the military spokesman tweeted.

"The decision was taken after the strategy of dialogue failed. The operation will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion. Any group that challenges Pakistan's constitution, attacks civilians, soldiers, and government installations and uses Pakistani territory to plan terrorist attacks will be targeted".

ISPR DG Asim Bajwa on Saturday said the operation Zarb-e-Azb has moved to the last few pockets close to the Pak-Afghan border. He said in one year 2,763 terrorists have been killed, 837 hideouts destroyed and 253 tons of explosives recovered. Bajwa said 9,000 intelligence-based operations were carried out, apprehending thousands of terrorists and their abettors. “218 hardcore terrorists were killed in cities. During the operation, 347 officers and soldiers also embraced martyrdom,” the military spokesman tweeted.

Separately, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Saturday said the entire nation had the resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism.

Addressing a passing-out parade at Naval Academy, he said, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb is delivering decisive results and terrorists are resorting to desperate actions.” Raheel Sharif asserted the battle against terrorism cannot be won by the armed forces alone. “It is encouraging to see the entire nation pursuing this national effort with a great sense of purpose,” the army chief said.

Commenting on the success of Zarb-e-Azb, analyst Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal who is a professor of the Quaid-e-Azam University said, “This operation is moving successfully towards its logical end. We fully trust our security forces and the government that they are doing well for the benefit of the country,” he said. He was of the view that once the operation concluded, the government would have another challenge of rehabilitation of the temporarily displaced persons.

Dr Pervez Iqbal Cheema from the National Defence University (NDU) said, “International community has now realised the great sacrifices of Pakistan in the war against terrorism and is acknowledging our efforts. The increasing visits of foreign dignitaries to Pakistan are a reflection of successful foreign policy of the present government.”

“The government seems determined to overcome the menace of terrorism in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been reviewing the progress on National Action Plan regularly, which is very important.”

Former Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Gen (r) Athar Abbas said Zarb-e-Azb was backed by the whole nation. He acknowledged the victories of the forces against the militants showing optimism that the operation will completely eliminate terrorism soon.

Defence analyst Lt-General (r) Ghulam Mustafa said, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb has broken the back of terrorists’ network. It has established the writ of the state in the tribal areas. Terrorism is a common enemy of the country and everyone should support this operation,” he viewed.