Peshawar attack a 'game changer' in terms of govt's approach towards militants: Aziz

Published: December 19, 2014
Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj 

Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: A senior aide of the prime minister on Friday termed the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s savage attack on an army-run school in Peshawar a ‘game changer’ in that it has faded the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban.

“The distinction between some groups you want to target and some groups you don’t want to target has virtually disappeared,” Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs and national security advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said.

“It was realised that in the end, they support each other and that if you do this you’re creating space which can become dangerous in the future. So it’s a game changer.”

“This has shaken the entire Pakistani society to the core, and in many ways it’s a threshold in our strategy for countering terrorism,” he told AFP in an interview.

“Just like 9/11 changed the US and the world forever, this 16/12 is kind of our mini 9/11.”

Pakistan has long been accused of playing a double game with militants groups, supporting those it thinks it can use for its own strategic ends.

But Aziz said that way of thinking was at an end after Tuesday, when heavily-armed fighters went from room to room at the school, gunning down children.

The TTP have killed thousands in their seven-year insurgency, but Aziz said the nature of the Peshawar attack was radically different from what had gone before.

“It was targeted at the children, and those children who were injured, they fired back upon them to kill them,” he said.

The first hangings of militants on death row are expected in the coming days after PM Nawaz lifted a moratorium on executions in terror cases in the wake of the Peshawar bloodshed.

Aziz said that as well as restarting hangings in terror cases, the government would look at reforms to address blockages in the justice system.

The government will investigate “legal changes to facilitate trials and convictions because right now it’s very difficult to convict many people,” Aziz said.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • FaiselH
    Dec 19, 2014 - 7:57PM

    “Game-Changer” ? exposes their mind set.
    It took this massacre to huddle them together ?
    Will they answer for the inadequate security standards after losing some 60,000 plus citizens to this barbarianism in the past decade ?
    There is a change in rhetoric, will there be a change in reality ?


  • unbelievable
    Dec 19, 2014 - 8:27PM

    Some game changer – they massacre your children and you form a committee – not sure that’s going to intimidate anyone.


  • Aiyoji
    Dec 19, 2014 - 8:45PM

    Shameless guy without any concience. He should be banned from all public and political office. In fact he should take responsibility for the Peshawar carnage. He as much as gave the green light to terrorists by his statements during the BBC interview in November.


  • Jawad U Rahman
    Dec 19, 2014 - 8:47PM

    This is not leadership that you realize this after 13 years and after losing fifty thousand of your compatriots. Your job as leaders is to foresee the menaces to the nation, instead you ignored the most obvious signs and dangers lurking around us. You, sir, are responsible for the mess we are in.


  • Dr. Shafique
    Dec 19, 2014 - 8:55PM

    I hope the comments by Sartaj Aziz reflect a true sense of change and not just an attempt to assuage tempers that are flaying in Pakistan following the dreadful Peshawar massacre of school children. For, it was Sartaj Aziz who not long ago made this very nauseating and highly disgusting and entirely stupid distinction between “good” and “bad” terrorists, the former referring to those that were aimed against the neighbours (notably India) and the latter against Pakistan itself. Now, hopefully, the old man has realized that Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is not so cute after all, and must be destroyed. The sooner the better. Do NOT under any circumstances play down the horror and pain that terrorism causes to civilian population; remember: those who live by the gun also die by it. Pakistan should have been years ahead in terms of economic and social development, had it concentrated on its own needs and those of its people. Instead, it has become a lawless society run by gun-toting killers. How long can Pakistanis take this? Bangladesh is way ahead of Pakistan; isn’t that a mirror showing our real face? And we need not compare ourselves with India which is already in the big league of nations. We need to build our economy, create jobs and fight corruption and nepotism — Kashmir seems to be a false wild goose chase for which we sacrificed 65 years, creating false dreams and hopes which we knew we could never achieve. It’s a big, big tragedy about Pakistan, but can we as people learn any lesson? I am not really sure.


  • nitin
    Dec 19, 2014 - 9:19PM

    it is need to think how this terrorist sustained in kp and balochistan,now time is come that india and pakistan jointly launch the operation against these wolves.


  • pity
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:10PM

    Agree but please ask india to stop interfering in Balochistan as well.


  • Sabyasachi
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:21PM

    There seems to be a change in the Pakistani mind set after Peshawar.In here I am talking about the common people.As far as Dr Aziz is concerned,his statements if followed up by some concrete steps on ground then he can be believed.But we will have to wait and see.We in Indian,the commoners empathize with the plight of commoners(in such heinous tragedy as was Peshawar) on the other side of the divide.We have always done that and we shall continue doing that.In being compassionate to each other we have a lot to gain mutually.


  • Shekhar Sidhaye
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:35PM

    I totally agree with Dr. Shafique has written. I feel it was one of those comments I was waiting to read from someone across the border who knows the ground realities and facts about overall situation in South Asia, especially in Pakistan. The creators of the two nations died almost immediately after the birth of two nations. Both had dreams about their own nation which never got fulfilled. India had its own reasons and Pakistan had its own. Pakistan should always remember that India would be more than happy if Pakistan becomes stable, that way both countries can progress much faster than now. The stability in Pakistan means more exchanges in terms trade, communication, tourism and many more. I have read about the complexities of overall administration there and it is going to be very very challenging for Mr. Sharif to take strong and sincere steps to establish peace in the sub-continent. If he succeeds, China will loose its interest in the south Asia. Hope the peace returns to Pakistan, buses and trains start plying from Peshawar to New Delhi to Dhaka once again. We all are waiting for that Golden day once again to prove that once we were united and in future also we’ll be united for peace and progress!


  • Bari
    Dec 19, 2014 - 11:09PM

    Is he not the same person who was giving statements of not hurting good taliban a month back? So many innocent children got killed because of taliban sympathizers people like him.


  • Khattak
    Dec 20, 2014 - 2:30AM

    After genocide of our school children he is saying that : “It was realised that in the end, they support each other and that if you do this you’re creating space which can become dangerous in the future. So it’s a game changer.”

    Look into your own conscious you old man before this genocide you were supporting good taliban & the massacre of kids playing volleyball in Paktia & mass murder of people including kids in Bombay. Tell me the difference between you & “Naray” Umer Hurasani.


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