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Pakistani Lawmakers Oppose Military Operation Against Militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

© AFP 2023 ABDUL MAJEEDMembers of the media gather beside the damaged mosque following January's 30 suicide blast inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on February 2, 2023.
Members of the media gather beside the damaged mosque following January's 30 suicide blast inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on February 2, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.04.2023
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the northwestern Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan, has become infamous for being the hotbed of terrorism in the country.
The Pakistan Army is facing stiff opposition to the fresh military offensive in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), with the aim of flushing out militants who regularly attack the Pakistani security forces and other state authorities.

Ali Wazir, a member of Pakistan's National Assembly from South Waziristan, claimed he would not allow any military operation until action was undertaken against all those responsible for settling Afghan militants in Pakistan.

"First arrest those generals and convict them whether they are within the institution or outside it," Wazir demanded in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Slamming Pakistan's Afghan policy, he argued that while the nation "played a major role in installing the Taliban* government in Afghanistan", Islamabad was now facing the threat of terrorism from its neighboring country, local media reported.

"I want to give a categorical message. We will not permit any operation. If you will do it, we will be standing there to resist it. If you have the courage, come there," the lawmaker added.
Two other lawmakers, Mohsin Dawar and Maulana Jamaluddin, voiced their opposition to the army's proposed move, alleging such an operation would target the general public.
"These operations are always against the local population and [Pakistani] Taliban** are not affected at all. We will be standing there and will not allow any operation," Jamaluddin declared.
With the region's lawmakers promising to resist the military's offensive, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif intervened in the matter.
He assured them that the top military brass would brief parliament on the matter on Friday, where their apprehensions about the offensive would be heard and responded to by the army.
"Your apprehensions [about the operation] are genuine. You will be heard and responded to with seriousness and [you] will be satisfied. Tomorrow (Friday), the National Assembly will be given an in-camera briefing and the members can ask questions. There will be a healthy interaction [with the military leadership]," Sharif said following the politicians' protest.
Pakistan police commandos stand guard on a rooftop while they observe the area to ensure the security of the rally of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan's 'Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf' party, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 04.04.2023
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Pakistan has witnessed a significant rise in militant attacks since November 2022 when the banned Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Islamic group unilaterally ended its ceasefire with the federal government.
Since then Pakistan has faced regular deadly attacks, including suicide bombings, particularly in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
In January, a massive explosion ripped through a mosque frequented by security forces in Peshawar city, leaving over 100 dead, including scores of policemen.
The Pakistani security agencies believe that the TTP is behind all these attacks, with Defense Minister Khawaja Asif recently saying that the proscribed Islamic militant group was using Afghan soil to attack the country's interests.
He even warned the Afghan Taliban that Pakistan would strike TTP hideouts in Afghanistan if the authorities in Kabul failed to prevent the militant group's attacks.

"We have communicated to Kabul during our last visit that please, as our neighbors and brothers, whatever is emanating from Afghan soil is your responsibility," he said earlier this week. "If that is not done, at some point we'll have to (…) resort to some measures, which will definitely – wherever (terrorists) are, their sanctuaries on Afghan soil – we'll have to hit them. We'll have to hit them because we cannot tolerate this situation for long."

*under UN sanctions for terrorism
** Pakistani Taliban, officially known as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan** (TTP) a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other states
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