National unity imperative for success in NWA operation: PM

Afghanistan assured full cooperation during Zarb-e-Azb op: FO

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to defeat terrorists at all costs. Talking to Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Thursday. He said that national unity is inevitable for the success of military operation in North Waziristan.

He said Pakistan is fighting a decisive war against terrorists and the soldiers engaged in this war will be extended full support.

Nawaz Sharif said the internally displaced people will be given full assistance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Chief Minister Punjab apprised the prime minister about Model Town incident.

While Pakistan has strongly rejected that drone attacks are being carried out in the tribal areas with Pakistan’s consent.

At weekly news briefing here Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said it is completely misleading and wrong to attach these strikes with the ongoing operation in North Waziristan.

She said Islamabad has always condemned these attacks.

When asked about contacts made with the Afghan authorities to beef up security at the border to stop movement of terrorists, the spokesperson said Afghan officials have assured their full cooperation in this regard.

She said there is a need for better border management and parallel steps on the other side so that no terrorist could escape into Afghanistan.

When asked about the wellbeing of Pakistanis in Iraq, she said most of the Pakistanis are not in the area where situation is alarming.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his first ever visit to the Headquarters of the Peshawar Corps of Pakistan Army, assured the military of full financial support to ensure success in the ongoing military operation against militants in North Waziristan tribal region.

The prime minister, who was also accompanied by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, was given a briefing by senior commanders of the Pakistan Army on the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation.

They were apprised about the significance of Zarb-i-Azb and told that the operation was imperative because of the threat of large scale attacks across the country by the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

During the briefing, it was also confirmed that 232 terrorists of various terror groups were killed while 20 militant sanctuaries were destroyed, along with their communication networks so far.

PM Nawaz and General Sharif were also told that forces had encircled the TTP strongholds in Mirali and Miramshah areas of North Waziristan to ensure that no terrorist fled the area.

“Militants’ supply line has also been cut,” the briefing further said.

They were also informed that the presence of East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and International Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) posed serious security threats not only to Pakistan but also to the region. These networks also had full foreign financial and material support, it was said.

Senior commanders said during the briefing that in the first phase, spanning over six weeks, major targets would be achieved by security forces.

Nawaz said that he had spoken to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to ensure that Afghan soil may not be used against Pakistan by fleeing terrorists.

PM Nawaz hits back at opponents

Earlier today, Sharif lashed out at his opponents and said they were agitating against the government’s developmental agenda that included purging Pakistan form terrorism, ending load shedding and making Pakistan a prosperous and developed nation.

Premier Sharif was addressing a gathering at Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad where hundreds of students were provided with laptops.

“We are following the agenda of development for Pakistan. I am unable to understand the agenda of the people who are agitating,” Sharif alluded to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awaami Tehreek (PAT) without naming either of the parties.

The premier, while addressing the gathering, said that the government has special plans for the youth. He said the six schemes under the Youth Program had illustrated the government’s commitment.

“We have successfully launched the youth business loan scheme and 12,000 candidates have been granted loans. I am happy to tell you that the successful candidates have started their businesses and have even started paying back the loan,” the PM remarked.

Sharif said the loan scheme was trust that they had reposed in the youth, adding that they had proved themselves trustworthy.

The prime minister said that the fee reimbursement scheme for students would benefit around 40,000 students annually, and announced that “I wish to extend this facility to all the students of Pakistan.”

“No student should remain uneducated due to resource constraints,” he added.

The beneficiaries of our schemes do not belong to a specific party or region but includes students from all parts of Pakistan regardless of their political affiliations, the PM said. “Merit is the only qualification needed to qualify for our schemes,” the PM said.

The students will also get a free EVO Dongle device along with the laptop. The laptops have all the necessary softwares necessary for research while the students will also have access to 6,000 national and international journals.

He said they were mulling over a bill to eliminate unlicensed weapons from the country in order to make it a peaceful living place. But, he added, we need support of all the parliamentary parties in this respect.

“Our objective is to make Pakistan a developed and prosperous country so that we can move heads high in the comity of nations, Sharif said.