Army chief General Raheel Sharif has said the ongoing operation against militancy and terrorism has entered the most difficult phase in which tens of thousands of temporarily displaced people (TDPs) will be resettled and their war-torn areas rebuilt.
“After successfully evicting terrorists from their sanctuaries and restoring the writ of the state, we are in the most difficult phase of the operation,” Gen Raheel said on Tuesday.
The massive military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, was launched in mid-June 2014 in North Waziristan Agency which had become a safe haven for homegrown Taliban militants and their foreign cohorts.
The army chief was addressing a special apex committee meeting for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar.
Outgoing Governor Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Hidayat Ur Rehman and senior K-P and Fata Secretariat officials attended the meeting. Gen Raheel said this ‘difficult phase’ included physically rebuilding the war-damaged areas, resettling of TDPs and eventually establishing an administrative system that focuses on the needs and aspirations of the people.
According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing military as well as intelligence based operations (IBOs) with special focus on the repatriation of the TDPs. Gen Raheel paid rich tributes to the “resilience and sacrifices of the people of Fata and K-P”, who, according to him, stood up to the atrocities of terrorists, pushed them back and marginalised them in society “with unflinching resolve and courage”. “Together, Insha Allah, with our tribal brethren we shall ensure that terrorists and their facilitators are never allowed to return to these areas,” the army chief said, according to the military’s media wing.
The army chief reiterated ‘his commitment with tribal brethren’, to rebuild the area and revive entire socio-economic infrastructure. “He emphasised on all concerned to expedite the resettlement process and meet time lines by removing impediments which are causing delay in timely completion of the work,” the statement said. The governor and chief minister of K-P also appreciated the whole hearted support of Pakistan Army and reiterated the resolve of Fata and the provincial government to rid the province of terrorism and extremism.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2016.