Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani presiding over the 163rd Corps Commander's Conference at General Headquarters. — Photo by APP
ISLAMABAD: Army’s counter-militancy operations in restive tribal areas would remain unaffected by the talk of government’s impending dialogue with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and its affiliated militant groups.
The military top brass met at the General Headquarters on Wednesday and discussed, among other issues, the government’s planned dialogue with militants, upcoming crackdown on criminal elements in Karachi, situation on the Line of Control and recent media disclosure that the US had intensified spying on the country’s nuclear programme.
The meeting chaired by Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani “undertook a comprehensive review of prevalent internal and external security situation of the country”, a military spokesman said, but gave no details about what decisions had been taken at the forum called the ‘corps commanders meeting’. However, a source said the counter-militancy operations would continue.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid recently claimed that the government was in secret contact with militants for starting the dialogue.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan later said talks would officially commence only after consulting political parties represented in parliament.
The army which has lost thousands of soldiers in the fight against terrorism looks uneasy with the idea of dialogue and Gen Kayani has been calling for developing clarity and national consensus against terrorism.
In his independence day anniversary speech at PMA Kakul, Gen Kayani had categorically said that surrender before militants was not the answer.
Despite the army’s clear reservations, the government continues to move ahead with its planned dialogue.
KARACHI OPERATION: The generals, the source said, were satisfied with the roster worked out for the Karachi clean-up operation which would be conducted through civilian law-enforcement agencies — Rangers and police.
The targeted action against criminal gangs and terror groups in the port city will be overseen by a body led by the provincial chief minister while the military will provide intelligence support.
“Political government is in the lead and a political process is continuing,” the source said.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement had called for an army-led operation, but the demand was rejected by all political parties.
LOC: The meeting noted that the situation on the Line of Control might have abated for now, but tensions persisted. The morale of the troops deployed on the LoC and their state of preparedness were reviewed, the source said, adding that the situation could not be taken lightly.
Gen Kayani had a day earlier visited the forward positions on the LoC and expressed satisfaction over “the state of morale, operational preparedness and vigil being maintained by troops on front line”.
The meeting was informed that the number of violations of the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord by India had increased since 2011.