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Azm-e-Istehkam: Govt clears the air on misconceptions about anti-terror operation

Two days after the federal government gave the go-ahead to Operation “Azm-e-Istehkam”, the Prime Minister’s Office late Monday clarified that “no large-scale military operation is being launched” in the country.

“The recently announced vision for enduring stability named Azm-e-Istehkam is being erroneously misunderstood and compared with earlier launched kinetic operations like Zarb-e-Azab, Rah-e-Najaat etc,” read a statement issued by the PMO.

It said the previous kinetic operations were conducted to physically dislodge terrorists from their known locations which had become no-go areas and compromised the writ of the state. “These operations required mass displacement of the local population and systematic clearance of affected areas.”

The federal government has stated that there are no such no-go areas in the country since the ability of terrorist entities to carry out large-scale organised operations inside Pakistan was decisively degraded by earlier kinetic operations.

The statement comes as opposition parties including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and others voiced concerns over the launch of the new military operation, demanding that parliament must be taken into confidence before taking any such decision.

“Therefore, no large-scale military operation is being contemplated where displacement of population will be required,” the PMO said.

It said that Operation Azm-e-Istehkam is a multi-domain, multi-agency, whole-of-the-system national vision for enduring stability in Pakistan.

It is meant to reinvigorate and re-energise the ongoing implementation of the revised National Action Plan, which was initiated after the national consensus across the political spectrum.

The statement further added that the new operation is aimed at energising already in place intelligence-based kinetic operations so as to decisively root out the nebulous and shadowy presence of remnants of terrorists, their facilitation due to crime-terror nexus, and rooting out violent extremism in the country to ensure an overall secure environment in the country for its economic development and prosperity.

“This will include political, diplomatic, legal and information prongs apart from already continuing operations by all Law Enforcement Agencies,” the statement said adding that the clarification should address all the misunderstandings as well as settle unnecessary debate on the subject.

The operation is being launched at a time as the country’s overall fatalities in terrorist attacks and counter-terror operations reached a six-year high with nearly 1,000 deaths, The News reported in January quoting the Centre for Research and Security Studies’s (CRSS) Annual Security Report.

Pakistan has witnessed a significant surge in attacks on security forces in recent months with the militants using advanced weaponry and equipment.

Islamabad has time again called on the interim Afghanistan government to prevent its land from being used by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant organisations for carrying out attacks against Pakistan.

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