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ISLAMABAD, Nov 7: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday pledged to continue dealing effectively with terrorists and militants and said that terrorism would be crushed at all costs.

According to an ISPR statement, the president made the statement during a presentation for corps commanders on the security situation in Fata and Balochistan.

Gen Musharraf spelled out his vision and strategy for dealing with the situation in Fata and Balochistan, sustaining the economic growth and passing on the benefits of economic gains to people at the grass roots level.

The 99th corps commanders’ conference was held at the General Headquarters. Vice Chief of Army Staff and Principal Staff Officers also attended the conference.

The president dwelt at length on the international and regional environment and its relevance to Pakistan’s security and professional matters.

Referring to the role of security forces in combating militancy and terrorism, he said that given the complexity of the issue various parties had tried to exploit it to serve their petty interests and create misperceptions among the general public.

He commended the performance of security forces “engaged in this sacred task in the supreme national interest”.

He said extreme care was being exercised to ensure that there was no loss of innocent lives or collateral damage while combating terrorists and added that this was also ensured in the Bajaur incident where “we had evidence that militants were being trained. There were also intelligence reports about active involvement of these militant leaders in terrorist activities”.

“We shall never close the option of dialogue and political settlement and it shall continue despite these actions, but we will undertake action wherever we find such militant activity. Terrorism is a threat to our national security which will be combated and crushed at all costs.

“We must control extremism, (and) sustain economic and democratic reforms and address all issues that are critical to the country’s growth and security in the long term.”

He appreciated the planning, organisation and conduct of a recent Pakistan-Turkey field exercise and plans for a similar interaction with the Royal Saudi land forces. He also praised the conduct of war-games held in Lahore and Gujranwala recently.

The president was briefed on the corps’ plans of collective training exercises to be conducted in November and December. He called for mission-oriented and rigorous field trainings, combining all arms under realistic battlefield environment.

He directed the field formations to test in the forthcoming training the operational planning carried out during recent war-games.