ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented development, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday became the first elected prime minister to ever visit the war-torn North Waziristan agency as he reached its headquarters in Miramshah to boost the morale of security forces fighting against terrorists in the ongoing military operation.

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif is accompanying the prime minister during his visit to the tribal region. Upon arrival, the premier was given a detailed briefing by the operation commander on the success achieved so far by security forces in military operation Zarb-i-Azb.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the progress of the operation and lauded the sacrifices rendered by military personnel in their fight against terrorism and assured full support for the complete success of the ongoing operation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the armed forces' efforts in the war against militancy and extremism was evident and commendable.

"This is not a conventional war where the enemy is known," the prime minister said in a press conference in Miramshah. "In such wars, the enemy attacks in disguise."

"I am really to glad to meet you all here," the premier said. "I hope that we all live with unity and serve Pakistan."

He was flanked by Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Lt Gen Retd Abdul Qadir Baloch and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, however, was not present.

Military operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched by the Pakistan army on June 15 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi's international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.

The PM’s visit to the restive agency alongside the army chief today sends a strong message after much speculation of friction between the military and government since PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri led thousands of protesters to camp in Islamabad’s D-chowk, demanding the premier’s resignation. The government accused the protesting parties of having the support of the military, a claim that the army has staunchly denied with Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asim Bajwa saying it was "hurting to hear when the army is accused of being the scriptwriter”.

Some observers have said that the government’s decision to request army mediation as a way out of the crisis resulted in the prime minister reportedly making concessions in power, relinquishing control of specific policy arenas – especially foreign and defence policy – to the powerful military.

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