US report on Operation Zarb-e-Azb baseless: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday described a US Defence Department report submitted to US Congress pertaining to Operation Zarb-e-Azb as baseless.

During the weekly Foreign Office news briefing, spokeswoman Tasneen Aslam told reporters the US and Afghanistan were taken into confidence before the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The spokesman added that militants were being targeted without distinction during the operation.

On Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson was summoned to the Foreign Ministry where Islamabad’s serious reservations over the report were conveyed to him by Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
A statement release after the meeting said: “While noting Pakistan’s cooperation with the US in areas of mutual interests, the recently–released report also carries unsubstantiated allegations of the existence of terrorist “sanctuaries” or that proxy forces are operating from here against Afghanistan and India.”

“Such allegations are of particular concern at this point when Pakistan government has launched comprehensive operations against militants in North Waziristan. The military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ has been broadly welcomed internationally, including in the US”

The statement further said that the operation has successfully eliminated terrorist hideouts and is directed against all militants, without any distinction. “We therefore hope that the issues will be seen in their correct perspective.”