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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More