Will not tolerate any terrorism from across border: PM Shehbaz

Will not tolerate any terrorism from across border: PM Shehbaz

Following recent skirmishes on the Pak-Afghan frontier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday asserted that the goverment would not tolerate any cross-border terrorism.

In the early hours of Monday, Pakistan struck Afganistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces in “intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations”, which, according to the Afghan interim government, killed eight people.

The Foreign Office had confirmed the strikes, saying they were aimed at the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, which recently targeted security forces in North Waziristan, martyring seven soldiers.

The air strikes were responded to by Afghanistan forces which used heavy weapons, including mortars, to target troops across the border in Kurram and North Waziristan.

Tuesday remained relatively calmer as guns on both sides of the boundary remained silent, barring the Angoor Adda border.

Earlier this year, Pakistan conducted retaliatory strikes in Iran after the latter laun­ched attacks in Pakistan targeting what it described as bases for the militant group Jaish al-Adl in the border town of Balochistan’s Panjgur.

Addressing the first meeting of the apex committee since the new government came to power, PM Shehbaz said today: “We will not tolerate any terrorism from across the border. Under no circumstances.”

At the outset of the meeting, the committee prayed for the martyrs in last week’s North Waziristan attack. The premier recalled that thousands of lives had been lost to terrorism.

“Unfortunately, again, terrorism has reared its head. The reality is that despite such great sacrifices and resources expended, our martyrs and warriors are risking their lives to eliminate terrorism,” PM Shehbaz said.

Recalling his visit to the martyrs’ families, the premier quoted the father of 23-year-old Captain Ahmed Badar as saying: “Prime minister, terrorism must be eradicated.”

“I also told him that we cannot tolerate this terrorism anymore. Pakistan’s borders are a red line against terrorism,” the prime minister said.

“We want to exist in a very peaceful environment with our neighbouring brothers — do trade, commerce and expand our relations — but unfortunately, if a neighbour’s land is used for terrorism, this is intolerable” he asserted.

PM Shehbaz requested “neighbouring countries” to “come and sit” to devise a plan against terrorism “with sincerity of purpose work towards eradicating it”. “I am hopeful that our neighbouring country will carefully consider my invitation,” he added.

Resurgent terrorism
Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in 2023 year, especially in KP and Balochistan after the banned militant Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November 2022.

The ISPR said earlier this month 10 militants were killed in two separate operations by security forces in the North Waziristan district. It added that Pakistan expected the Afghan government to fulfil its obligations and deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists.

Last month, a late-night attack on a police station in Dera Ismail Khan was repulsed. Gunmen had mounted an attack using heavy weapons but fled in the cover of darkness when police personnel fired back.

In December last year, 23 soldiers were martyred and more than 30 troops wounded after militants belonging to the Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) stormed a compound used by the military in Dera Ismail Khan’s Daraban area.

According to an annual security report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Pakistan witnessed 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations in 2023 — marking a record six-year high.

KP and Balochistan were the primary centres of violence, accounting for over 90 per cent of all fatalities and 84pc of attacks, including incidents of terrorism and security forces operations.