The ongoing operation in North Waziristan is targeting all militants but needs to be complemented by actions on the Afghan side to be conclusive, Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Saturday.
“Our apprehension is that many of these [terrorist] elements are on the run… [and] some of them … people belonging to the Haqqani network… may have gone to Afghanistan,” he said while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in a discussion on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“While the hammer is in full swing, we only hope that the anvil we have been talking about for a long time that would also appear one day.”
Ambassador Jillani said Pakistan was holding discussions with the US and Afghanistan on these apprehensions.“We have good cooperation but I think something more needs to be done to make sure the successes we achieve in North Waziristan are conclusive,” he stressed.
“We should make every possible effort to ensure these people [militants] don’t find any refuge anywhere… [and] don’t come back and regroup because that would have very serious consequences,” he added.
Pakistan was making every possible effort in this regard, the envoy said. “We are screening everyone, including the IDPs [internally displaced persons] who are moving into the settled areas.”
“Our expectation would be that the same thing is done on the Afghan side as well because 40,000 to 50,000 people have moved to Afghanistan,” he added.
Jillani stressed that “the operations we are conducting are absolutely colourless and indiscriminate, and we are getting the results.”
Speaking in the broader perspective, the envoy said he felt things are looking better for the region and referred to recent political transitions in Pakistan, India and the ongoing transition in Afghanistan. “These political transitions can bring about a lot of stability,” he said, adding, “Improvement in Pakistan-India ties will also bring stability in Afghanistan.”
On Pakistan-US relations, Ambassador Jilani noted a marked improvement from a couple of years ago.
The discussion also touched on drone operations, with the envoy saying the programme was a sensitive issue in Pakistan on moral, human rights and legal grounds as well as with regards to the question of sovereignty.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.