Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said he will not allow Pakistan to become a “sanctuary of terrorists” and asserted that the military operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan tribal region would continue until militants are eliminated.
In his separate addresses to the National Assembly and Senate, Sharif sought public and political support for the military operation code-named Zarb-e-Azb, which means “Strike of the Prophet's Sword”. He also rejected the reported differences with the army over the use of force.
“The civilian government and army are on the same page and all decisions regarding operation have been taken by complete consensus,” he said.
“Now all political parties and the people should stand behind the armed forces in this operation.” Sharif also said that the country had paid a heavy price of militancy as during 10 to 12 years of militancy, the country suffered USD 103 billion of economic losses.
“We will not allow Pakistan to become a sanctuary of terrorists,” Sharif announced. Sharif, who had launched peace talks in January to solve militancy, accused Taliban of sabotaging the entire peace process.
He said government had tried patiently to pursue peace talks but it was unfortunate that after four and a half months of trying peace, dialogue could not be fruitful.
“On one hand we were pursuing dialogue, and on the other we were being targeted. We were pursuing talks, but from Islamabad courts to Karachi airport we were attacked.”
“Despite the sacrifices of our soldiers, we gave peace talks first priority but our efforts were rendered in vain.
This operation will be the start of a peaceful beginning of the country,” Sharif added.
The operation was launched yesterday, a week after the deadly attack at Karachi airport which killed 37 people including the 10 attackers.