Nawaz throws weight behind armed forces

Nawaz says armed forces, security agencies should be fully supported to completely eradicate terrorism from country

Rizwan Shehzad   July 07, 2024
Newly elected PML-N President Nawaz Sharif addressing the party’s general council meeting in Lahore on Tuesday. SCREEENGRAB


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has thrown his weight behind the country’s armed forces.

He said the armed forces and security agencies should be fully supported to completely eradicate terrorism from the country.

The former premier, who is in mountain resort city of Murree, underscored the essential link between law and order and the nation’s investment, development, and prosperity.

In a meeting with the parliamentary party leader in the Senate, Senator Irfan Siddiqui, he called for unity to tackle national challenges and support anti-terrorism initiatives, highlighting the need for everyone to be on the same page to address the multifaceted challenges facing Pakistan.

Nawaz was elected as an MNA in the recent general elections but opted out of the race for the premiership. Seeing the split mandate in the February 8 general elections, he had nominated his brother Shehbaz Sharif for the PM’s slot.


Emphasising the crucial role of security, Nawaz advocated for unwavering support to the armed forces and security agencies in their anti-terrorism endeavours.


He highlighted the intrinsic link between economic and political stability, urging the parliament to play an active role in this regard.


The former premier’s statement has come on the heels of the country’s top military commanders slamming opposition to vision Azm-e-Istehkam, noting that the unwarranted criticism of the vision by some quarters and the deliberate misrepresentation for only furthering their vested interests.


The PML-N president also expressed grave concerns over elements working to destabilise the country and tarnish its international image. The ex-PM argued that such elements have no genuine stake in democracy or the people’s welfare, viewing Pakistan’s struggles as their political gains.


Reflecting on the country’s past achievements, Nawaz noted that issues like inflation, load shedding and terrorism, once successfully tackled, have resurfaced. He, however, assured the nation that with earnest and diligent leadership, these adversities could be overcome once more.


Seven years ago, Sharif recalled, Pakistan had successfully controlled inflation, eliminated load shedding, and bid farewell to IMF bailouts.


However, he lamented the significant setbacks since 2018, saying they have led to creating severe difficulties across various sectors. “These setbacks,” he noted, “will take considerable time to rectify.”


During the meeting, Senator Siddiqui presented a comprehensive report on the parliamentary party’s performance in the Senate, reaffirming the PML-N’s commitment to addressing the nation’s pressing issues and striving for a stable and prosperous future.


Sharif’s statement showing support for the security forces comes just days after the PML-N-led coalition government led by his younger brother, PM Shehbaz Sharif, announced to launch of Operation Azm-e-Istehkam.


On June 22, an Apex Committee of the National Action Plan (NAP) meeting, chaired by PM Shehbaz, had approved “Operation Azm-e-Istehkam” to eliminate terrorism and extremism across the country.


However, the next day, the lawmakers from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) declared their opposition to any military operation and demanded that the military leadership take parliament into confidence first. However, the government later clarified that ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ would not be a kinetic operation.


Soon after the announcement of the new operation, the opposition parties had not only strongly reacted to the decision but vowed to create resistance if any new operation was launched in the country. The opposition parties also questioned the outcome of the previous military operations in the country.


Seeing the reaction, the government later on clarified that ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ wasn’t an operation but a vision. However, the debate had resurfaced once again when Defence Minister Khawaja Asif declared that Pakistan would carry out cross-border strikes in Afghanistan to target terrorists.


Senior members of the opposition in the National Assembly had once again vehemently condemned the statement, saying such reckless rhetoric was not only inflammatory but also endangered the fragile peace and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The opposition leaders had collectively demanded an immediate retraction of the statement and a formal apology from Asif. They had urged the government to adopt a more diplomatic and measured approach to addressing security concerns.


Since June 22, the government has been trying to clarify its position and has now decided to call an All Parties Conference (APC) to take all the parties into confidence over its vision Azm-e-Istehkam. Though a formal date hasn’t yet been announced, PPP and PTI-turned-SIC have already confirmed their participation in the APC.



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