RAWALPINDI: Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Asim Saleem Bajwa briefed media persons about gains in ongoing operations against terrorists in tribal areas of Pakistan.
While briefing the media on progress made during Zarb-i-Azb, Bajwa said the operation was an indiscriminate one.
“At the start of Zarb-e-Azb Operation, Pakistan was plagued with terrorism and militancy, but army successfully eliminated terrorism from their epicenters,” he said, adding: “The salient operational guidelines for Zarb-i-Azb were that it would be an indiscriminate operation, it would avoid collateral damage and it would be mindful of human rights.”
He claimed that the security environment in 2014, when Operation Zarb-i-Azb was started, was such that the country faced various instances of terrorism.
“There were 311 IED blasts, 74 attacks, and 26 suicide blasts in 2014,” he said, “More than 900 terrorists were killed in the military operation.
“No one could think of going to North Waziristan. It was the epicentre [of terrorism]. It was home to the largest communications infrastructure,” he said. The origin of most instances of terrorism was North Waziristan, he said.
“After the operation, when we cleared the valley, reaching Dattakhel and were moving towards the border, some terrorists came out from there via Afghanistan and reached the fringes of Khyber Agency.”
“Before we started the operation, Pakistan had informed all stakeholders ─ political, diplomatic and military ─ of the operation. The Afghan president, political govt, military leadership, Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan were all informed of the operation and requested that if terrorists cross the border, they would have to catch them.
Referring to the presence of militant group Islamic State (ID/Daesh) in Pakistan, Bajwa said Daesh, after its inception from Middle East, tried to make inroads in Pakistan by joining different groups.
“Daesh was trying to enter Pakistan and make its nests,” he said, “However, it is eliminated from the country.”
He said those who changed their loyalties and joined Daesh were involved in several attacks including on media houses, security forces and sensitive installations.
ISPR DG claimed that Shawal is like Switzerland now.
“Shawal is like Switzerland now. The residents are slowly returning, but they want the Army to stay on and provide stability and revive the economy.