We’ll go to any length to crush terrorists: COAS

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Attends funeral of martyred army men

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—The Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Sunday expressed Army’s firm determination to crush terrorists all over the country with full might.
He expressed satisfaction over the progress of final phase of the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb that began a couple of days back to flush out terrorists from isolated pockets of the Shawal valley of North Waziristan agency.
“We are determined and will go to any length to destroy all pockets of terrorists from every nook and corner of the country.”
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) said in Peshawar where he air-dashed to attend the last rites of an officer and jawaans of the security forces who had embraced martyrdom in shootout with terrorists during ground operation in Shawal valley on Saturday.
General Raheel also paid rich tributes to the sacrifices and resilience of soldiers who are courageously fighting terrorists in the difficult mountainous area of Shawal in North Waziristan agency and other areas to establish writ of the State and frustrate the nefarious designs of the enemies of Pakistan.
The funeral of the Army captain and jawaans was held at the Corps Headquarters which, besides the Army Chief, was attended by the Acting Governor Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and senior civil and military leadership. Gen Raheel expressed complete solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls.
At least 34 militants were killed and four soldiers, including an Army captain, were martyred on Saturday during a clash with terrorists who were hiding in the remote Shawal valley.
The security forces were conducting a ground offensive against militants in their remaining strongholds in Shawal near the Pak-Afghan border when the shootout with the terrorists erupted.
The martyred soldiers included Captain Umair Abbasi, Havaldar Hakim Ali, Sepoy Rashid and Sepoy Hameed. Two of the martyred soldiers belonged to Sindh and one was from Dera Ismail Khan.
The bodies of the soldiers were first shifted to Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, in a military helicopter from where they were transported to Peshawar before being taken to their native places for burial.
The incident took place three days after the Army Chief visited the valley and gave orders to military commanders to launch the last phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb to clear Shawal of terrorists. The valley is reportedly infested with terrorists who are resisting the advancing troops.
The Army chief on Sunday also visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Peshawar to inquire about the health of those injured in the ongoing phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Gen Raheel also visited and inquired about the well-being of an Afghan National Army soldier Sepoy Alam Zeb, who is being treated at the CMH Peshawar. Sepoy Zeb was evacuated from Bajaur on February 25 due to head injury and has been admitted at the CMH Peshawar since February 26. He was injured by gunfire from terrorists in Afghanistan and was brought to a Pakistani post and later to Peshawar.
At the Peshawar Corps HQ, the COAS was briefed by Corps Commander Lieutenant-General Hidayat ur Rehman about the progress of the last leg of the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in Shawal valley of North Waziristan agency.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday, the sacrifices of Pakistan Army soldiers who are fighting against terrorists will not go in vain.
“They will be in our hearts and prayers, and we will make sure that their sacrifices do not go in vain,” a statement issued by the PM House quoted the premier as saying.

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