ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during a speech delivered in the National Assembly on Monday, justified the government’s decision to initiate a full-scale operation in North Waziristan tribal region and said that the ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ operation would continue until terrorism is eliminated from the country.
Sharif added that the government had tried patiently to pursue peace talks but It was unfortunate that after four and a half months of trying peace, dialogue could not be fruitful.
He further said that the world knew that “On one hand we were pursuing dialogue, and on the other we were being targeted.We were pursuing talks, but from Islamabad courts to Karachi airport we were attacked.”
Addressing the Speaker of the National Assembly, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the prime minister said “Our places of worship and mosques were targeted, our schools were targeted. We will change the fate of this country and under no circumstances will the country be allowed to serve as a safe haven for terrorists.”
Sharif said that all important decisions were taken with mutual agreement between civilian and military leadership.
“Despite the sacrifices of our soldiers, we gave peace talks first priority but our efforts were rendered in vain, This operation will be the start of a peaceful beginning of the country,” he added.
Following his speech in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Sharif proceeded to the Senate where he delivered a statement on the ongoing operation.
The full scale operation commenced in North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday, and the move was welcomed by most political parties including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
The Pak-Afghan border was also sealed off while the Afghan National Army was also requested to plug possible escape routes across the border.
Opposition in Senate extended full support not only to the PM but also to the military operation in North Waziristan.
“The opposition supports the military operation launched in NW agency and stands fully behind the govt,” Opposition leader Aitzaz Ahsan told the House.
Earlier PM Nawaz sharif repeated the same speech which he made in the National Assembly.
The entire house supported the military operation in NW agency.
Speaking in the Senate today PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, while supporting action against extremist elements, demanded answers to a number of questions.
He questioned first as to why the military and not the civilian government announced the operation.
He said the widespread perception is that the military decided to launch the operation while the foot dragging civilian government followed suit, which would only exacerbate the civil–military divide and will not serve the purpose of a united front against the militants.
Second he asked as to what plans had been put in place to rehabilitate the internally displaced persons as was done by the PPP coalition government at the time of the Swat operation in 2009.
“In the absence of a proper plan to tackle the mass exodus of people from North Waziristan, we will only add to the frustration and alienation of the affected people,” he said.
Third, he asked about the status of the so called national internal security policy announced with much fanfare by the interior minister some three months ago.
He said that the security policy had promised to develop a national narrative on militancy, de-radicalization, carrying out legal reforms, reforming almost 23,000 madrasa’s and bringing the 26 intelligence agencies under one platform.
Babar said that no allocations had been made in the budget for achieving any of these goals.
Meanwhile, Senator Raza Rabbani said the attack on Karachi airport has exposed the so called coordination between the 26 intelligence agencies promised in the policy.
He said there was not a single sentence in the finance minister’s budget speech about ending extremism or about achieving any of the goals laid down in the national security policy.
Senator Taj Haider said, “you cannot achieve internal security as long as you patronize some militants for external security purposes”.
Senator Hasil Bazenjo said the issues in dealing with militancy are not only of efficiency or capacity but also of duplicity in our policy.