Senate of Pakistan

Senators shown destroyed Haqqani network infrastructure

Senators shown destroyed Haqqani network infrastructure

ISLAMABAD: The army is not making any distinction in taking the fight to militants in North Waziristan and has destroyed the infrastructure of the Haqqani network as well as other militant groups operating in the restive agency, members of the Senate Defence Com­mittee who returned from a tour of North Waziristan told Dawn.

Senator Mushahid Hus­sain Sayed, who is also chairman of the Senate Defence Committee, said General Officer Commanding Maj Gen Zafarullah Khan showed them the Haqqanis’ destroyed infrastructure, including their living quarters and staging grounds.

“The purpose of showing us this was to demonstrate that the army is not distinguishing between ‘good and bad Taliban’ in carrying out this operation,” he said.

According to the briefing the senators received from the military authorities, 1,300 terrorists have been killed, 600 surrendered and 233 have been arrested since the launch of Zarb-i-Azb operation in June last year.

On the army’s side, 63 soldiers have laid down their lives and 238 have been wounded in the line of duty.

The delegation, which went to the restive tribal area at the invitation of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, was the first-ever parliamentary committee to visit the newly cleared parts of North Waziristan.

Senator Mushahid said the delegation stayed in North Waziristan for over four hours. They were accompanied by the GOC in jeeps through war-torn Miramshah. They visited bazaars, streets and residential areas in Miranshah and were shown the terrorists’ destroyed infrastructure, he said.

He said the GOC had told the senators that 40 factories producing illicit arms, ammunition and IEDs had been demolished and 137 tons of explosives recovered. They were also shown bunkers and basements where ammunition, explosives and hate literature had been hidden.

Before heading to North Waziristan, the committee members first went to Peshawar to pay their respects at the Army Public School and Corps Headquarters. In Peshawar, the senators were briefed by Corps Commander Lt Gen Hidayatur Rehman.

On the way back, the delegation was also taken to the Bakka Khel camp for IDPs on the outskirts of Bannu, where nearly 20,000 refugees from North Waziristan are living with their families.

They were briefed by Maj Gen Akhtar Jamil Rao, who oversees the rehabilitation and reconstruction operation. He told the senators that nearly Rs90 billion would be required for the return of IDPs and rehabilitation and reconstruction of their destroyed properties.

Committee members included PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, ANP’s Haji Adeel, Farhatullah Babar and Sehar Kamran of the PPP and Abdul Rauf of PkMAP.

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