ISLAMABAD: The top brass of Pakistan’s military, while reviewing its anti-terror strategy on Saturday, called for a collective approach — involving the entire nation and the government — to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.

The consensus came as security forces continue intelligence-based operations (IBOs) against militants in areas along the western border.

The details of the Corps Com­manders Conference, released by the Inter-Services Public Rela­tions (ISPR), are in line with the briefing given by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Syed Asim Munir on external and internal security to an in-camera sitting of the National Assembly on Friday.

The 257th core commanders conference, presided over by Gen Munir at GHQ, reviewed the domestic and regional environment, inc­luding external and internal sec­urity challenges facing Pakistan.

Corps commanders resolve to continue govt-approved campaign, call on rulers to involve ‘whole system’ to eradicate root causes of terrorism

The forum highlighted that while security forces are undertaking IBOs along the western border, there is a need to adopt a “whole-of-the-nation and whole-of-the-government approach to eradicate the menace of terrorism on [a] long-term basis”.

According to ISPR, this focused counter-terrorism campaign against terrorists as approved by the government, through a whole-of-the-system approach, will lead towards eradicating permissive factors of terrorism, extremism and instability in the country.

The forum affirmed that military leadership is cognisant of the full spectrum of the challenges and it resolves to shoulder its constitutionally mandated responsibilities with the support of the resilient people of Pakistan.

The forum reiterated the commitment of the armed forces to fully support national responses against internal and external threats.

At Friday’s in-camera briefing, the army chief had acknowledged that the strategy to negotiate with terrorists had allowed them to regroup in the tribal areas, adding that the armed forces were ready to maintain durable peace in the country and, to that end, intelligence-based operations were being carried out.

He had stressed even then that apart from the security agencies, all government departments, whe­­ther legal, economic, social or ext­ernal, would have to join the campaign against anti-state elements.

He also declared that there were no longer any ‘no-go areas’ in Pakistan.

The commanders assured the moot to pursue the goals set by the National Security Committee (NSC) to turn the tide against terrorism through the coordinated application of all elements of national power.

The NSC — the principal decision-making body on national security — last week described the policy of civil and military leadership of engaging the terrorists into dialogue as flawed and vowed to launch an all-out comprehensive operation to rid the country of the menace of terrorism.

The NSC had concluded that the recent spate of terrorism in the country was a consequence of a “soft corner” for the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and a “thoughtless policy” towards the terrorist outfit, both of which were “contrary to the public’s expectations”.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2023

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