- Army to consider ‘other options’ if TTP leader not taken down by missile attacks
- PM Sharif, General Sharif vow to show muscle against terrorists
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif Friday informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the army and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)’s decision to target Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah, who was reportedly in contact with the Peshawar school attackers from Afghanistan during the assault which left 143 people, mostly school children, dead on December 16.
At a meeting in General Headquarters (GHQ), the army chief briefed the premier about his recent meeting with the Afghan leadership. The meeting concluded with the two expressing strong resolve to eradicate terrorism from the country.
“Although General Raheel and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General (DG) Rizwan Akhter have provided audio proof of attackers talking to Fazlullah during the Peshawar assault, the army is currently refraining from chasing targets across the international border,” said sources privy to the meeting.
The audio recording, handed to Afghan authorities, was in Pashto, sources added.
Further, sources said the military leadership and ISAF agreed to target Fazlullah in a drone attack rather than a ground operation in the Nangerhar, Nooristan and Kunar areas of Afghanistan, where Fazlullah is believed to be hiding.
They further said that Army will provide the Afghan government and ISAF a “reasonable” amount of time to fulfil their promise of action against Fazlullah.
PM Sharif was also informed that if Fazlullah was not hit by a missile after a certain time period, the Pakistan Army will consider other options.
It was also decided that security at the Pak-Afghan border would be tightened in order to contain cross-border movement of militants.
The meeting also decided that the operation being conducted in North Waziristan and Khyber would be expanded and militant hideouts would be targeted in Tirah valley of Khyber as well as in other tribal areas in the next stage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“Pakistan Army will continue with its operation and attacks in Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency and Mohmand Agency,” the sources said.
During the meeting which cantered on national security, the leadership agreed that no leniency would be extended to terrorists and tough steps would be taken in this regard.
The government assured the armed forces that all necessary resources, information and cooperation would be extended for the elimination of terrorists. The PM also assured the military leadership that required amendments would be made in anti-terror laws.
It was also decided that intelligence-sharing between civilian and military intelligence agencies would be strengthened to trace militants and their hideouts in tribal areas as well as in major cities.
The meeting, headed by the prime minister, came hours after General Sharif approved the execution of six terrorists sentenced to death by military courts.
Sources said that the six included convicts in cases relating to the GHQ attack, Jhanda Chichi, Pervez Musharraf attack and attack on a military camp near River Chenab (Gujrat). Moreover, another source claimed that convicts in the Gujrat military camp attack were also on the execution list.