- Military chief spokesman says ceasefire violations on LoC an attempt to distract Pakistan’s focus on anti-terror efforts
- Says operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-1 progressing, most of NWA cleared of terrorists
- Says efforts being made to nab Mullah Fazlullah, other APS attack perpetrators in coordination with Afghan govt
The chief military spokesman on Thursday claimed that that India is funding the banned terrorist organisation, Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan, saying that that a banned outfit cannot function on such a big scale unless foreign powers are funding it.
Addressing a press conference, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Asim Bajwa said Indian violations of ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) are a ruse to keep the Pakistan Army engaged on the western borders so that it could not focus on the anti-terror fight.
“Protests have been lodged at the foreign office and military level and we hope that the Indian government will understand that they are playing a dangerous game,” he said, adding that India labels Pakistan with extremism but in fact there is more extremism in India than Pakistan. He urged the world community to extend wholehearted support to Pakistan for eliminating terrorists.
Briefing journalists on the progress in Operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-1 and the investigations into the Taliban massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December last year, Bajwa said that a large portion of North Waziristan had been cleared in Operation Zarb-e-Azb while Operation Khyber-1 is also underway with full force.
He said that over 2,000 terrorists have so far been killed in the two operations while 226 army personnel had been martyred and 823 injured in clashes. He said most parts of North Waziristan up to Datta Khel and Khyber agencies have been cleared except a couple of small pockets along Afghanistan borders.
Talking about the Peshawar school carnage, he said the attack was ordered by Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah who divided his force into two groups. Omar Ameer took responsibility for the operation while Haji Kamran was made the head of the operation.
Giving a breakdown, Bajwa said there were 27 terrorists in total out of which 12 had been arrested, nine were killed whereas six were still being hunted down. He also said most of the terrorists were Pakistani nationals. He said one of the terrorists Taj alias Rizwan had six men under him — three of whom were killed by security forces during the siege at the army-run school, while the others were killed during military action in North Waziristan.
The DG further said six of the 12 arrests were made from Afghanistan and expressed his gratitude to the Afghan government for their assistance in improving border coordination.
Bajwa said they were confident that all the remaining terrorists would be arrested at the earliest. “Mullah Fazlullah and Aurangzeb alias Omar Ameer are currently in Afghanistan and they will be captured soon. Intelligence agencies are working on this in a very focused manner.”
In response to a question, Bajwa said Fazlullah’s arrest was being discussed fervently. “He is a known terrorist, his capture and handover to Pakistan are being discussed with the Afghan leadership and we are hopeful that we will hear a quick response from them in this regard.”
The ISPR spokesman revealed that a militant commander named Hazrat Ali collected funds to carry out the APS attack. “Terrorists formed a base in the house of a local mosque cleric near the school,” he said.
He also claimed that running a large organisation like the TTP and having sufficient funds for its sustenance was not possible without international funding.
The ISPR spokesperson said the legal process for trying terrorists in military courts has begun. He said 12 cases had been received for trial by military courts, adding that they were all of hardened terrorists. He added that the procedure for establishing military courts took very long.
Commenting on an interview of former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani to Al Jazeera where he said that Pakistan had ‘most likely’ revealed the position of former al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to the US, Bajwa said it had been proven beyond doubt that Pakistan had no role in harbouring the al Qaeda chief.