ISLAMABAD: A turbulent National Assembly session took place on Sunday as the government and opposition remained divided over a new military operation, Azm-e-Istehkam, to root out militancy. The lawmakers from the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that they weren’t taken into confidence over the operation, while the government assured them that their concerns would be addressed. The lower house session, which is currently discussing the budget but went off track to exchange views over the operation, saw a ruckus ensued from the opposition benches. The PTI staged a walkout from the session for an hour and returned later, following which their leaders addressed the National Assembly, while they also chanted slogans, including “end the operation”, and “we want peace”.The Shehbaz Sharif-led government had Saturday announced the fresh counter-terrorism operation, pledging to utilise the full strength of the country’s resources, including military, diplomatic, and legislative, to turn the heat up on militants. The Central Apex Committee on National Action Plan (NAP) gave the approval for the operation, in which top officials of all provinces were present, including PTI-backed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur. The move comes as the country has witnessed a significant surge in terrorist attacks in recent months resulting in scores of both civilian and security forces’ casualties. The Pakistani government, which has maitained that neighbouring nations are responsible for a rise in terrorism, has time and again called on Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration to prevent its soil from being used by various terrorist organisations against Pakistan — an allegation Kabul has denied.



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