PPP to support Operation Azm-e-Istehkam despite ‘reservations’

Government assures that all stakeholders would be taken into confidence moving forward


News Desk June 25, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto decided the names of new governors of three provinces. Photo: file

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to support Operation Azm-e-Istehkam, aimed at eradicating terrorism and extremism nationwide, despite some reservations.

During a parliamentary party meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday, the PPP leadership and members deliberated on the operation. Sources revealed that, after thorough discussion, the party decided to back the initiative.

On Saturday, the country’s civil and military leadership decided to launch a new campaign in an effort to tackle the resurgence of terrorism as Prime Minister Shehbaz highlighted the need for all institutions of the country to collectively combat this menace instead of relying on one.

A meeting of the te Central Apex Committee on NAP, which was attended by key cabinet members, gave approval to Azm-e-Istehkam” after consensus among all the stakeholders, including the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

An official statement had said that the prime minister approved a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism campaign, adding: “Azm-e-Istehkam will integrate multiple lines of effort to combat the menace of extremism and terrorism in a comprehensive and decisive manner.”

The PPP parliamentary party in today’s meeting unanimously endorsed Operation Azm-e-Istehkam. However, the PPP has communicated its concerns to the government regarding the operation.

Also read: Azm-e-Istehkam not a ‘new kinetic operation’

According to sources, the PPP leadership expressed reservations about not being consulted on the operation. In response, the government assured that all stakeholders would be taken into confidence moving forward.

The PPP emphasised its commitment to national decisions through consultation and reiterated its support for all anti-terrorism efforts. "The country's welfare and the people's safety have always been the PPP's top priority," a party source stated.

The office of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Monday that ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ would not be a kinetic operation like the previous Zarb-e-Azab and Rah-e-Najaat, rather it aimed at reinvigorating the implementation of Revised National Action Plan (NAP).

A statement issued by the Press Wing of the Prime Minister’s Office said that the ability of terrorist entities to carry out large scale organised operations inside Pakistan had been degraded by earlier kinetic operations, therefore, no large scale military operation was being contemplated.

“Azm-e-Istehkam is a multi-domain, multi-agency, whole-of-the-system national vision for enduring stability in Pakistan. It is meant to reinvigorate and re-energise the ongoing implementation of Revised National Action Plan, which was initiated after the consensus across the political spectrum,” it said.

The statement of the Prime Minister’s Office said that the recently “announced vision for enduring stability named Azm-e-Istehkam was being erroneously misunderstood and compared with earlier launched kinetic operations.

“The previous kinetic operations were conducted to physically dislodge terrorists from their known locations which had become no-go areas and compromised the writ of the state. These operations required mass displacement of the local population and systematic clearance of affected areas, it said.

“There are no such no-go areas in the country since the ability of terrorist entities to or carry out large scale organised operations inside Pakistan was decisively degraded by earlier kinetic operations,” the statement added. “Therefore, no large scale military operation is being contemplated where displacement of population will be required.”

Reiterating that Azm-e-Istehkam aimed at energising the ongoing intelligence-based kinetic operations “to decisively root out the nebulous and shadowy presence of remnants of terrorists”, their facilitators and violent extremism to ensure a secure environment in the country for its economic development.

“This will include political, diplomatic, legal and information prongs apart from already continuing operations by all law-enforcement agencies. This should address all the misunderstandings as well as settle unnecessary debate on the subject,” the statement concluded.

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