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ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir on Friday informed the in-camera session of National Assembly on national security that the outcome of past approach of negotiation with the terrorists was nothing but regrouping of the militants, and also outlined the narrative of “Apna [our] Pakistan”, instead of talking about the “Naya [new] Pakistan or Purana [old] Pakistan”.

Informed sources said that the top military leadership gave a detailed briefing on the national security during an in-camera session of the National Assembly, which was chaired by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, federal ministers, the advisers and members of the National Assembly attended the briefing.

The army chief, while responding to the questions by various members of the National Assembly about the ongoing countrywide intelligence-based military operations against the militants, stated that this is a campaign which is going on as per the already approved strategy by the State of Pakistan.

He clarified that this is not a new operation, but a whole of the nation’s approach that reflects the unwavering confidence of the people in which all elements of the state are involved.

Apart from the security agencies, the army chief added that this campaign will also include all essential elements of the government such as legal, economic, social, and external, etc. In response to the questions raised by the lawmakers, the army chief stated: “We should forget about the debate of “Naya (new) Pakistan or Purana (old) Pakistan, but we must talk about Apna (our) Pakistan.”

Although, he did not give any reference to any political party’s slogan, the concept of a “Naya Pakistan” has been a popular slogan of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, who contested the 2018 general elections under the same slogan aimed at bringing a “change”.

In a veiled criticism on the previous government approach of negotiations with the terrorists, the army chief stated that the outcome of the dialogue with the terrorists was nothing but the process only helped them to regroup for carrying fresh terrorist attacks in the country.

“The terrorists have no other option, but to accept the writ of the State,” Army Chief General Asim Munir stated in categorical terms, adding: “With the grace of Allah, the Almighty, currently, there is no no-go area in the country.”

He stated that security forces are committed to maintain lasting peace in the country, adding that intelligence-based operations are being conducted on a daily basis across the country to get rid of the menace of terrorism.

Behind the success against terrorism, he said that there are contributions of a large number of martyrs, “who cultivated this country with their blood”. He added that more than 80,000 of them offered sacrifices, including the blood of more than 20,000 living heroes and more than 10,000 martyrs.

The army chief further stated that Pakistan has no dearth of resources and manpower. “The elected representatives of the people should determine the destination and the Pakistan Army will fully support them in the journey of development and a prosperous Pakistan,” General Asim Munir further assured the House.

The sources further stated that the army chief also stated that Parliament is a respectable institution, having the authority of legislation making. They added that the members of the National Assembly welcomed the views of the Army Chief by thumping at their desks.

The sources further stated that apart from the army chief, senior members of the military also gave a detailed overview of the current security situation.

Various members of the National Assembly, particularly belonging to tribal districts have raised concerns following the National Security Council (NSC) recently approved launching an ‘all-out comprehensive’ military operation against the terrorists.

On their concerns, Speaker National Assembly had convened the in-camera session of the National Assembly with a view to address their concerns. “Although, it was an in-camera briefing, I’m unable go into the specifics, but our concerns were addressed largely,” an MNA from a tribal district who declined to be named said in response to a question by Business Recorder.

He said that the representatives of the people of tribal districts shared their concerns with the military leadership and opposed any new military operation in any tribal district which will ultimately end up in damaging the people and their properties like the past military operations in North and South Waziristan, as well as, Bajaur and Swat. Some lawmakers also dubbed the ongoing standoff between the Parliament and the Supreme Court as an outcome of “judges’ terrorism”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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