News / Asia

Pakistan's Sharif Vows All-out Anti-Terrorist Effort

FILE - In this June 1, 2011, file photo, Pakistani troops fire heavy artillery toward alleged militants hideouts in mountain ranges along the Afghan border.
FILE - In this June 1, 2011, file photo, Pakistani troops fire heavy artillery toward alleged militants hideouts in mountain ranges along the Afghan border.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistani fighter planes have bombed suspected militant sanctuaries in the troubled North Waziristan border region for a second day as part of a long-demanded military offensive.  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the operation, which started Sunday, will continue until all “terrorists” are eliminated.   
The military says the counter-terrorism air strikes are targeting locations in North Waziristan where militants have established bases and there is no civilian population nearby.  

Most of the militants killed are being described as members of the fugitive Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is operating in the area under the umbrella of the Pakistani Taliban.  Army officials say several ethnic Uighur fighters linked to the insurgency in China’s Xinjiang province are also among those killed.  
Sharif defended the military action before Pakistan's parliament, saying Monday the Pakistani Taliban did not reciprocate to his peace initiatives to restore normalcy to the Waziristan territory and bring an end to years of deadly militancy in the country.  Instead, he says, terrorists continued bloodshed and violence across the nation without sparing women and children.
He said a decisive operation has been launched to rid Pakistan of terrorism and that God willing it will continue until all its objectives are realized.  Sharif vowed “not to allow Pakistan become a safe haven for terrorists again at any cost”.
With the approval of all the political parties, the parliament passed a resolution backing the army action, but lawmakers of the two main Islamic parties refused to put their signatures on the document.
“This house resolves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the armed forces 'till final victory,” a ruling party member said.
A military statement issued Monday quoted Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif as emphasizing that “all terrorists along with their sanctuaries must be eliminated without discrimination."
But Pakistani newspaper editorials and independent analysts remain skeptical about whether the military establishment has abandoned its alleged “dualist policy of good Taliban and bad Taliban."  

Islamabad has long been under fire for battling anti-state Islamist militants and their associates, but tolerating the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network of insurgents who are using North Waziristan for staging cross-border attacks on NATO and Afghan forces.
Pakistan’s reluctance to deny sanctuaries to these extremists has remained a major irritant in its ties with the United States.

The director of the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, Shuja Nawaz, says it is too early to comment on how the Obama administration views the Pakistani counter-terrorism offensive, because Washington is heavily distracted by a number of crises in other parts of the world.  

“North Waziristan was seen as the point of contention with Pakistan largely because of the Haqqani group, but I do not see any mention of the Haqqani group in any of the official statements coming out of Rawalpindi or Islamabad," he said. "So, if there has been some kind of arrangement made with the Haqqani group to allow them to exit the territory before the cordon and search operations began then that is something that has yet to be shared with the public.”
Critics, including Nawaz, are skeptical about whether the Waziristan military offensive alone can help end the militancy in Pakistan.  They say  there is a large number of Islamic seminaries around the country where religious and sectarian hatred is taught, while some mainstream Islamic parties are also fueling extremism.
“This is a war that Pakistan is involved in and North Waziristan is probably only the first battle, and we have to wait to see how that goes and whether there will be a will to fight the militancy and terrorism through the country as a whole,” he said.
Sharif’s controversial peace process remained under fire since it was launched nearly five months ago and demands continued to grow for a military offensive against militant bases in the tribal region in the wake of rising terrorist attacks in the country.

The pressure on his administration intensified after a militant raid killed about 40 people last week at the Karachi airport.  The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying Uzbek fighters carried out the raid.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John
June 17, 2014 9:26 AM
I am certainly one of the sceptics about the possibility of this offensive ending militancy in Pakistan. I'm sure that terrorism in Pakistan, and support for raids into Afghanistan, will continue for the foreseeable future. This is one of the reasons why I believe the US should withdraw entirely from Afghanistan and leave no residual force. Another, of course, is the danger of leaving small, isolated, unsupported forces scattered throughout a country. This was clearly demonstrated in Lebanon in Reagan's time.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs