Pak Army claims clearing all areas of militants
Military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said since launch of ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ military operation against terrorists in June 2014, armed forces have achieved “major successes” in the fight against terrorism. “I can say that there is no hideout of militants in any area of Pakistan as we have cleared all areas of organised presence of militants,” he said.
“The salient operational guidelines for the operation were that it would be an indiscriminate operation, collateral damage would be avoided and human rights would be taken into consideration,” he said.
He said over 3,500 militants were killed since the operation was launched, while 537 soldiers lost their lives.
“Terrorism was rampant in the country in 2014, which is before Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched, he said, adding that there were about 311 IED blasts, 74 attacks, and 26 suicide blasts.” “There was enough explosive material there to carry out five IED blasts every day for 21 years. They could have caused 134,000 casualties with the amount of material we recovered,” Bajwa added.
He said over 21,000 intelligence operations were conducted in the country and succeeded to break the nexus between militants, facilitators and financiers. “We have two challenges: first managing 2,600-km border with Afghanistan and honourable return of 3 million Afghan refugees,” he said. He said loopholes on the border will be plugged as government will set up 18 regular crossing points, where only those having proper documents will be allowed to cross.
Military admits to IS presence on Pak soil, for first time
Pakistan on Thursday for the first time admitted that the ISIS had a presence in the country but plans by the dreaded group to target important personalities and attempts to organise itself have been thwarted. “Daesh tried to make an ingress into Pakistan, but the core of its group have now been apprehended,” army spokesperson Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said, using an alternate acronym for the ISIS.
In this connection, 309 arrests have been made, including 25 foreigners of Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi nationalities, he said. They were involved in attacks on media and security personnel, and were planning attacks on government, diplomatic and civilian targets, he added. This is the first acknowledgement by Pakistan, which has consistently denied IS presence on its territory.