LAHORE:Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday the government would develop a consensus on the new anti-terrorism operation “Azm-e-Istehkam” to eliminate militants from the country, assuring the opposition that its reservations over the matter would be addressed.
Legal and constitutional process would be adopted to allay the reservations of all political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP), he said and added that parties were taking such type of stand only to capture vote bank, but their stand should be for the state only, and not for votes.

Militants are being backed by the people abroad who want Pakistan to become “no go area”.

Addressing a press conference here at Model Town, the defence minister said that operation Azam-e-Istehkam was a continuation of the National Action Plan, which had no political objectives, it was not correct to compare it with past operations, adding that actions would be taken based on classified information.
Consensus among all institutions and political forces was essential for the success of operation, if terrorism was not controlled, it could affect the entire country, he remarked.
The minister called on politicians, the media, judiciary and armed forces to support the operation.
He said that KP Chief Minister Gandapur did not express any reservations about Operation Azm-e-Istehkam during the apex committee’s meeting on Saturday. “In fact, he also said indirectly that we will support this action, which will be mainly implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” Asif said.

Khawaja Asif said the government did not want to achieve any “political objectives” through the operation. Rather, he said it wanted to combat the surge in militancy in the country and eliminate it for good.
“Opposition parties and the government’s allies will be given a suitable amount of time to debate it and their questions and reservations will be answered”, he added.
The Defence Minister said the operation would go through its process before it was enforced,”
He said that it would be presented in the cabinet today after which there would be a discussion on it in both the houses and a consensus on it would be developed.
He said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Rah-e-Nijat were also aimed to eliminate militants.
However, the current situation was quite different as no area was under complete control
of any terrorist organization now. Last operation disturbed the populations to migrate but
this time civil society would not be effected, he added.


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