ISLAMABAD - While Pakistan Army said it will purge the country of the enemies of state, political parties reacted to the ‘surprise’ ground offensive with some condemning the government for not taking them on board and some calling for safety of innocent civilians.
“It is shameful how Prime Minister Sharif failed to take political leadership in confidence. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has called emergency meeting of its core committee today (Monday) and will give its detailed reaction later,” Central Information Secretary PTI Dr Shireen Mazari told The Nation Sunday.
Information Secretary Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Zahid Khan came down hard on the peace committee formed by the government for brokering a peace deal with Taliban and demanded that the committee members should have informed public through press conference about the reason behind failure of the much-trumpeted peace talks.
“ANP supports military operation against terrorists but at the same time we demand of the government to take measures for safety of innocent population that is vulnerable to collateral damages during the offensive,” Khan said.
He said the military operation against foreign militants should not paralyse the lives and properties of local people, regretting that the government had not arranged camps in advance for the people that would be displaced due to the operation. Information Minister Pervez Rashid said terrorist network would be eliminated, adding the whole nation was standing behind armed forces.
Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif said the decision of operation against terrorists reflected the wishes of the people.
PPP’s Sharjil Memon, information minister Sindh, said the government should have taken all political forces in confidence on the operation but said they stood behind armed forces.
As the army announced its plan to step into North Waziristan for a major ground operation against terrorists after years, there was a swift social media reaction about the military’s engagement in an area considered as sanctuary of foreign and local Jihadis.
Social media website, Twitter, was extensively used with users highlighting the importance and disadvantages of the military operation and majority were posting tweets in support of armed forces.
“Zarb-e-Azb operation means sharp and cutting,” a twitter user explained when confusion erupted about the exact name of the military operation.
But some were worried about the plight of people that would be displaced by the military adventure in North Waziristan. “Everyone breaking the news of operation in NWA but nobody talks about the issue of IDPs,” Rehmat Mehsud, said in a tweet.
Spokesman Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (Fazl) Jan Achakzai posted his party’s official stance on the operation using twitter as a medium saying that the operation will not end terrorism.
“If the operation has limited aim to target certain militants while leaving other groups operating and sustaining militancy infrastructure of terrorism in country intact, the issue will not be resolved,” the JUI-F spokesperson said.
“Using North Waziristan as a base, these terrorists had waged a war against the state of Pakistan and had been disrupting our national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property,” the DG ISPR said.
He said that terrorists had also paralysed life within the agency and perpetually terrorised the entire peace-loving and patriotic local population.
Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: Jamaat e Islami chief Ameer Siraj ul Haq has termed the decision of military action in North Waziristan as disappointing and said that at least national leadership and KPK government should had been consulted before launching the operation.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, he said that operation will further complicate the political and national crisis. He said there was no arrangement for the security of the common people during the operation. He expressed his fear that due to which massive human tragedy may occur.
The JI chief also gave instruction to the JI workers and Al-Khidmat workers to get ready for rescue activities for the common population of the area.