ISLMABAD/RAWALPINDI: On the eve of the two year anniversary of the Zarb-E-Azb operation, DG-ISPR Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa addressed a press conference in which he re-iterated the Nation’s resolve to eliminate terrorism. DG-ISPR provided details on the successes of the Zar-E-Azb operation. The progress in restoring order to Karachi and North Waziristan is worthwhile and more action needs to be taken, he said.

DG-ISPR spoke about the Border Management System (BMS) and how the Pakistani Army is working to maintain adequate measures in order to secure the porous border from where terrorists move to and fro. “Over a period of two years, an area of 3,600sq km in North Waziristan has been cleared of terrorists,” DG ISPR said.

The Lt. Gen cited the Badabher attack as a case study that reveals the border mechanism. Pakistan has cooperated and coordinated with the Afghan authourities but the collaboration proved futile in wake of policy lapses. There is no documentation on both sides of Torkham border. Integrating the details regarding wave of terrorist attacks in different areas of the country establishes involvement of foreign hand. DG-ISPR mentioned involvement of NDS and RAW agents. Awareness about facilitation of terrorism is an important step towards eliminating the terrorist networks. 500 Pakistan Army jawans have lost their lives fighting the cancer of insurgency.

Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa propagated that the Pakistani army and IDPs had to go through hardships and give sacrifice in the war on terror. He said that most terrorist groups like Lashkar-E-Islam with a number of 900 fighters were wiped. Ground operations and aerial warfare in Shawwal with an undeterred and uncompromised stand led to clearance of Terrorist pockets. He further stated that 19000 Intelligence-based operations were carried out which were based on interrogation and lead generations. 992 safe locations were destroyed. Pakistan Army bifurcated the area into Khyber 1 and Khyber 2 – based on the demographics, topography and available resources. Rehabilitation is a major concern for the Civil-Military leadership. Before entering into a more aggressive phase, FATA and other terror-stricken regions have to be cleansed.

During the Q&A session, he spoke on various issues. He maintained that the Torkham border firing event was initiated from Afghan National Army. He stated that It is inherently important to revive the peace process and for this, the Afghan-Pakistan leadership is in contact. Moreover, Pakistan Army seeks completion of CPEC and is capable of providing security services as per need.  Talks are open with neighbours like Afghanistan on diplomatic and military fronts and that no aid or shelter is provided to any non-state actor. Return of Afghan refugees forms part of Border management system. Effective Security measures will mean efficient planning as a pre-requisite is required.

In the course of Zarb-E-Azb, the Karachi’s economy suffering from sick industries were revived through peace efforts leading to possibility of working of an Industrial base. Taliban activities for instigating sectarianism, extortion and kidnapping for ransom halted the development phase. However, now the hotels in Karachi are packed with foreign business visitors. 120 terrorists have been obliterated.

About Drone attacks, he said that Pakistan has protested in terms of not accepting violations of the territory where the targets are treated in a partial manner.  FATA’s situation has improved unto 61 percent as per target where infrastructure building and provision of basic necessities are benchmarks to maintain status quo of living according to pre-operation situation.  Developments regarding Angoor adda base are in knowledge of all stakeholders.