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After Imran Khan's party opposes it, Pakistan's defense minister says new military offensive against terrorism will be discussed in Parliament By Sajjad Hussain | Pakistan News

After Imran Khan's party opposes it, Pakistan's defense minister says new military offensive against terrorism will be discussed in Parliament By Sajjad Hussain |  Pakistan News
After Imran Khan's party opposes it, Pakistan's defense minister says new military offensive against terrorism will be discussed in Parliament By Sajjad Hussain |  Pakistan News


Pakistan's Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said on Sunday he would consult parliament on the issue of a new military offensive against terrorists, after former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party demanded that any new operation be discussed at the highest level.

The decision to launch Operation 'Azm-e-Istehkam' was taken on Saturday at the meeting of the apex committee of the National Action Plan, a strategy approved in 2014 to eliminate militancy from the country.

A day after the plan was announced, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers said the issue should have been discussed in Parliament, which is the highest body to decide on any new operation.

The minister initially criticized the PTI saying that the party's chief minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), was present in the meeting when the decision was taken, but he also later announced that the issue would be referred to the parliament.

We will also take this issue to the House (of Parliament) where a debate will take place on this subject. If they have any objections, when this issue comes before this House, they can also speak on it,” he said.

Khawaja also accused the PTI of siding with terrorists. They (PTI) stand with the terrorists by protesting here today. They are protesting against the martyrs of the Pakistan Army and against the army which continues to make sacrifices against terrorism, he said.

He also said the PTI leadership had not backed down from the stance of May 9 when the party's supporters attacked military installations, and castigated the party for changing its stance to serve its interests.

Earlier, addressing the media outside Parliament, PTI chief Gohar Khan demanded that only Parliament should be empowered to take a decision on military operations.

We demand that if there is any operation, whether intelligence-based or full-fledged, or in certain districts, villages or tehsils, there is a need to take this Parliament into confidence, he said, adding that no matter how powerful a commission was, it could not replace Parliament. Former President and PTI leader Asad Qaiser reiterated the same demand. I simply demand that if a decision has been made regarding the operation, it should be submitted to Parliament and that Parliament should be considered confidential, he said.

Later, PTI lawmakers during the parliamentary session raised slogans against the proposed operation chanting: Operation Fata unacceptable and Operation KP unacceptable. The announcement of launching a new offensive was made after a supreme committee chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by key federal ministers, provincial chief ministers, department heads and senior bureaucrats.

The decision for a new offensive was made public after a senior Chinese official on Friday named security as the main challenge of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Security threats pose the main dangers for CPEC cooperation. As is often said, trust is more precious than gold. In the case of Pakistan, the main factor shaking the confidence of Chinese investors is the security situation, Liu Jianchao said.

Azm-i-Istehkam will be the latest in a series of counter-terrorism operations carried out by the Pakistan Army over the past two decades. The most effective was Operation Zarb-i-Azb, launched in 2014 by General Raheel Sharif after the 2014 Peshawar school attack.

Operation Raddul Fasaad authorized by General Qamar Javed Bajwa in 2017 aimed to eliminate what were then described as residual terrorist threats in the country.

Earlier in 2008, a series of operations successfully expelled rebels from the Swat region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The operations achieved tactical successes, including reducing terrorist incidents and eliminating high-value targets, but they failed to completely eradicate militancy, which should have necessitated a new offensive.




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