PESHAWAR: Standing in an area that was once the stronghold of Pakistan’s most wanted man, a top commander of the army pledged that Pakistan was, and would continue, to take action against militants on this side of the border.
Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik was speaking to a select group of journalists on Saturday during a visit to South Waziristan’s Kotkai area – an area famous for being the stronghold, and the hometown, of Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.
In a visit that included a trip to the dreaded TTP commander’s home as well as to that of his deputy Qari Hussain, Gen Malik said that the Pakistan Army was doing its part on this side of the border – and urged international forces in Afghanistan to do their part to destroy militant sanctuaries.
“Pakistan will not tolerate any infiltration in its area. The Afghan government and Nato should not allow terrorists’ safe havens in Afghan provinces along the Pakistan border,” he said.
“We will take action against the terrorists in our area and Nato and Afghanistan should also take action against them (terrorists) in their area across the border.”
General Yasin Malik, who is supervising military operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said that any dialogue with militants would be conducted and initiated by the political leadership. Malik informed the reporters that the army had sealed the Pak-Afghan borders in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies, Dir and Chitral districts.
The commander went on to add that no one would be allowed to live in Pakistan illegally and those who wished to migrate would have to fulfill all legal formalities. Malik claimed that the military had cleared around 80 % of South Waziristan from militant activities while the remaining area would also be cleared soon.
“Our troops will stay here until complete security is ensured in this area, the Pakistan army is not going back from the tribal regions,” Malik said.
Journalists who visited Mehsud’s and Hussain’s deserted homes in Tarangy village of Kotkai said that the TTP commander’s house, built on a 300 square yard property, had been lying in ruins.
Express News correspondent Yasir Ali, who visited the property, said that the house had three rooms, including a kitchen, washroom and verandah which were destroyed while pamphlets of the militant outfit littered the floor. The house of Qari Hussain was also seen in complete destruction and in the control of security forces.
Security forces had launched Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Deliverance) on October 17, 2009 to clear South Waziristan Agency of militancy.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2011.