Rawalpindi—While the Arab based IS, also known as Daesh is spreading its tentacles in other regions of the world, the spokesperson of Pakistan Army on Thursday revealed that the outfit’s attempts to organize itself in the country have been foiled.
About 309 arrests have been made including 25 foreigners of Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi nationalities. These include the facilitators and the hired assassins, said Asif Saleem Bajwa, DG ISPR Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa while addressing a news conference at the GHQ, expressing the resolve that the shadow of IS will not be tolerated on the motherland.
He said people linked with IS had plans to target important personalities belonging to different walks of life and state symbols including politicians, media persons, ambassadors, foreign delegates and renowned social activists.
Giving update on achievements of operation Zarb-e-Azb, he said 3500 terrorists have so far been killed and 992 hide outs destroyed. He said 900 terrorists have been killed in Khyber operation.
He said 537 personnel of armed forces were martyred and 2272 others injured.
The Director-General ISPR said Pakistan incurred staggering losses in men and material in the war against terror and therefore, no one should doubt Pakistan’s intention to fight the menace.
He said 21383 intelligence based operations have been carried out in the entire country during which 222 terrorists were killed and 31400 arrests made. There have been 168 combing operations leading to 744 arrests.
To a question, he said Pakistan is taking action against all terrorists without any discrimination including Haqqani network. He said terrorism is a global phenomenon and there has been reduction in cooperation from Afghan side in the fight against terror.
Replying to another question, he said anti-Pakistan remarks by anyone would not be tolerated. He said the Government is seized with the matter and probing the instance of inciting people on violence.
He said there has been a marked improvement in security and law and order situation due to operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“We started operations in Shawal, where all the terrorists from North Waziristan went. It was their last stronghold and they had nowhere to go after that. The operation went well and we cleared every village, every house, every school and every mosque in Shawal.”
“Shawal is like Switzerland now,” Bajwa claimed. “The residents are slowly returning, but they want the Army to stay on and provide stability and revive the economy. Pine nuts are grown in great quantities there. Terrorists were selling them to fund themselves, but now the locals will benefit.”
About Karachi operation, he said visible reduction has been witnessed in target killings, extortions and kidnapping for ransom. He said 447 target killers were eliminated during the operation.
“Proper gates would be installed at 18 major crossing points between Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of border management. Staff of immigration and other relevant departments would be posted there to ensure that no one crosses the border without valid documents.”
The Director-General ISPR said Pakistan is establishing border posts and deploying FC personnel to keep a check on cross border movement but the Afghan side is not fulfilling its commitment in this regard.
He said an Infrastructure Development Plan has been prepared for terrorism affected areas. Under this, 705 kilometers of roads in North and South Waziristan have been constructed to serve as new trade corridor between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said 66 per cent TDPs have also returned to their areas against the target of completion of the task by the year end.
Replying to a question, he said Pakistan is taking action against all terrorists without any discrimination including Haqqani Network. He said terrorism is a global phenomenon but there has been reduction in cooperation in the fight against terror.
To another question, he said anti-Pakistan talk by anyone would not be tolerated. He said the Government is seized with the matter and investigating the instance of inciting people on violence.
He said operation is continuing and the Armed Forces are determined to fight to the last terrorist.
Additional FC wings will be raised, but until that happens, Army troops will provide reinforcement in many areas.”
“Other related agencies, including Nadra, will have staff posts and crossing will only be possible using valid documents on both sides of the border,” he said.
“We have posts along the border and have our own forces reinforcing the Frontier Corps, but the same kind of deployment doesn’t exist on the Afghan side of the border. Because of that void, there is a lot of presence and movement of terrorists there.”
“There will be a lot of patrolling to ensure no one can cross the border illegally. It will take time, but we are moving ahead steadily,” he said.