RAWALPINDI: Army chief General Raheel Sharif has said that terrorists are on the run and will not find any place to hide, because of the army’s proactive counterterrorism operations in the tribal regions, as well as urban areas of the country.
The army chief said this during his visit to South and North Waziristan agencies where he celebrated Eid with troops on the frontlines.
With counterterrorism efforts in Fata and urban areas producing the desired effects, the army will now be focusing equally on choking all sources of terror financing and apprehending all financiers, abettors and sympathisers of terrorists, he said.
Gen Raheel offered his Eid prayers in Wana, the administrative headquarters of South Waziristan, where he met soldiers and exchanged greetings. He also visited Eidak in North Waziristan, where he met the families who have returned safely to their homes.
The army chief was briefed by the operation commanders on the progress of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He expressed full satisfaction over the progress and achievements on the ground so far. While interacting with the soldiers, the army chief appreciated their morale, courage and determination during the ongoing operation.
“While defending our motherland, staying away from our homes and families is a military tradition that we cherish and are proud of,” Gen Raheel said. “The overwhelming support and trust of our nation in armed forces is our biggest asset. Our nation stands united today behind us in accomplishing any mission assigned to us, and we will never let them down.”
Paying rich tributes to the martyrs and wounded soldiers, the COAS said the country could never forget them, especially on the joyous occasion of Eid. “Their best remembrance is not to let their sacrifices go to waste,” he added.
Later, Gen Raheel visited the temporarily displaced persons’ camp in Bannu to spend time with tribesmen from North Waziristan. He assured them of the wholehearted support and commitment of the army and the nation in providing them not only relief but in executing an ultimate resettlement plan for them.
“We are long-time partners in peace building in the erstwhile troubled Fata regions,” he said and directed all agencies involved in the repatriation process to ensure a timely return of the TDPs to their homes and quality development work.
Meanwhile, Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar vowed that all facilitators and financiers of terrorists would be brought to justice. He said this during his visit to Al Azhar Garden where he met the families of the victims of the Safoora Goth bus attack. Forty-five members of the peaceful Ismaili community were methodically killed by gunmen on a bus on May 13 this year.
Lt Gen Mukhtar expressed grief and sorrow over the tragedy and said that much progress has been made in investigations into the Safoora Goth massacre. “Significant progress has been achieved in the investigation of the Safoora incident and the main terrorists behind the carnage have already been apprehended, whereas achievements against terrorism need to be strengthened further,” he added.
The corps commander also visited Karachi’s Central Jail, where he reviewed arrangements at the prison and greeted personnel deployed for security on Eid. IGP (Prisons) Nusrat Mangan was also present. Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar met police and Rangers officials on Eid day duty.
Meanwhile Director General Rangers Sindh Maj Gen Bilal Akbar visited rural Sindh and border areas to personally convey Eid greetings to the soldiers performing their duties. “Maj Gen Akbar spent the second day of Eid with the troops on the international border and boosted their morale,” said the Rangers spokesperson. He also visited rural Sindh, including Sukkur and Larkana, to review the security situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2015.