ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has given a clear message to the rank and file that he intends to maintain “zero tolerance” against religious and sectarian terrorism.
“The army chief has clearly given the message to his institution that his policy is of no tolerance and only those outfits will be allowed to survive that totally abandon militancy and do not resist the state’s push in cleaning the country from the menace of terrorism,” a source privy to the meetings chaired by the army chief confirmed on the condition of anonymity.
On the issue of the war on terrorism, General Raheel Sharif is absolutely clear that all the sectarian outfits have to disarm and stop activities against each other, he said.
“In various all parties conferences (APCs) and in meetings with the heads of federal and provincial governments, the army chief has conveyed that since the prime security institution of the country - Pakistan Army - is aligning to the new realities vis-à-vis war on terror and dealing with religious militant organisations, the political leadership should also not allow any kind of compromise on this account,” he said.
The military leadership is also aware of the fact that many of the religious parties are not very comfortable with this new approach of countering terrorism. There are also reports that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is in the process of forming a group of religious parties who will oppose the establishment of military courts in the country, the source said.
These sources said that the military leadership is mindful of the fact that some hardliner sectarian and religious parties, who in the past were against Fazalur Rehman, were now willing to join hands with him. “Though so far an alliance of religious parties under the umbrella of JUI-F has not come out with any plan of action regarding their opposition to the establishment of military courts, this still remains a matter of concern for the army and the political leadership has also been conveyed the same,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2015.
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