Pakistan Army to expand ongoing offensive to urban centres

Top military commanders on Tuesday discussed future counterterrorism operations, in a move that suggests the ongoing offensive against terrorists will be expanded to the country’s urban centres.

A meeting of the corps commanders, presided over by army chief General Raheel Sharif, was held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

“An exhaustive review of professional matters, internal and external security situation including the ongoing and future operations against terrorism, was carried out,” said a statement issued by the army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The army’s communiqué did not provide further details.

Accordingly to ISPR, the military brass discussed the possibility of expanding the operation to the urban areas against the financiers and abettors of militant groups.

Covert intelligence-based operations are already under way across the country, including in South Punjab, which is considered a hotbed of many sectarian outfits.

The army chief is expected to give his input about the importance of targeting financiers and abettors in the urban centres in the upcoming meeting of the central apex committee which will review progress on the National Action Plan (NAP) on Thursday in Islamabad.

To be chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the high-level huddle will be attended by all provincial apex committees as well as Gen Raheel Sharif.

Tuesday’s corps commanders’ meeting also discussed the current situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary as well as the situation in Afghanistan.

Director General Military Operations Major General Amir Riaz, who accompanied PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to Kabul last week, briefed the meeting about his discussions with Afghan authorities.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan strained after Kabul accused that the country’s security establishment was behind the recent wave of militant attacks in the war-torn country.

At the Defence Day ceremony, the army chief had made it clear that Pakistan would not allow ‘detractors’ to undermine efforts to normalise ties with Afghanistan.

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