RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday that Pakistani nation was united in the fight against terrorism and these attacks could not down its morale.
During a visit to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) to inquire about the health of those injured recently in the Bannu and RA Bazaar blasts, Premier Nawaz Sharif said personnel of armed forces had rendered great sacrifices in the war against terrorism and the nation was proud of them. He said militants will be taken to the task.
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif were also present on the occasion. "Those who have sacrificed their lives today for ensuring a better tomorrow for our coming generations, are our benefactors," said the PM.
Nawaz individually met the injured and inquired about their health. He also issued directions for provision of best available medical facilities for early recovery of the injured.
According to sources, the PM had to face a difficult situation when two civilians injured in RA Bazaar blast lost their temperament seeing Nawaz Sharif near their beds. They said, "Enough is enough. Mian Sahab the terrorists have crossed all the limits. They are killing innocent and poor people of Pakistan. Terrorists must be taken to task in such a strict way so that their upcoming generations remember their logical end".
Earlier, PM and Defence Minister arrived at GHQ through helicopter. COAS and other top brass received Nawaz Sharif and Khawaja Muhammad Asif and brought to CMH.
Separately, according to military sources, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday visited Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Bannu Cantonment and inquired after the health of Sunday attack victims. A planted bomb blast inside a rented vehicle in Bannu Cantonment fatally targeted at least 22 FC KP men who were about to leave for NWA in connection with an ongoing targeted operation there. TTP, the notorious terrorist umbrella organisation, had claimed responsibility of the attack.
The next day (Monday) a deadly suicide attack in RA Bazaar, a congested locality of the garrison city of Rawalpindi, commonly known as Raja Bazaar, had left dead at least 13 people including eight security forces personnel, three schoolchildren and two other civilians while 29 were injured.
Amid no let-up in the TTP-led militant violence, polio workers administering polio vaccination to the minor kids were killed in Karachi Tuesday.
These developments have rung alarm bells in the top ruling and military circles with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif purported to have discussed the option of going all out tough on the militants in the scheduled Federal Cabinet meeting Monday. The PM and COAS were also said to have telephonically discussed the existing security situation Monday and decided to scale up military action in the north-western tribal region and other areas where required.
With the military men and civilians being targeted on a regular basis, pressure has mounted manifolds on Pakistan's ruling brass and military command to adopt a decisive course of action against those who challenge the state's writ, instead of following an apologetic and defensive approach based on the much overused 'dialogue' mantra that envisages making peace with terrorists but has failed to work so far.
Moreover, following attacks on the security pickets in NWA and South Waziristan Agency which resulted in the loss of lives of at least 10 security men, Pakistan Army and FC KP had recently launched targeted operations in the two insecurity plagued tribal agencies from where thousands of locals are reported to have relocated to the alternative places, mostly in Bannu, Hangu and the adjoining belts.
Last summer, the army and FC had launched two security operations, each in Khyber and Kurram Agencies that saw intense gunbattle between the military men and the militants.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last Friday an assessment mission to Kurram Agency in FATA was slated from 21 to 24 January to determine whether the conditions for return were appropriate, and the support that would be required by internally displaced persons (IDPs) seeking to return.
Last month, the UN humanitarian agency had said that 108,273 people (19,095 families) returned to Fata including the first phase of returns to the Tirah Valley (Khyber Agency), which saw the return of nearly 31,000 registered IDPs (6,187 families) of the 80,000 displaced earlier in 2013.