MABAD - Pakistans military clings to its decision not to launch a military offensive in the coming months as Armys top commanders met on Friday ahead of a US envoys expected visit to Pakistan. The Corps Commanders Conference held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) discussed a host of strategic issues and operational matters pertaining to Pakistan Army albeit, the military sources say that five major issues that were reported to have remained under extensive discussion concerned military policy line on North Waziristan operation during US Special Envoy to Pakistan Marc Grossmans visit to Pakistan, the recent troops deployment in Chitral and Upper Dir, Quetta unrest, Karachis security situation and APC outcome on the Pak-US relations.
Grossman is likely to visit Pakistan sometime in the coming days. The advent of cold weather in Waziristan region triggering tough weather conditions in the coming months would give Pakistan Army a breathing space for launching the NWA operation till the weather conditions improve by March next year.
According to sources, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and his military aides discussed the operational constraints about the aforesaid operation. Reportedly, the military would cite intense winter as a major operational hindrance for the NWA offensive to let the pressure off itself, for a few months at least, when the US dignitary would visit Pakistan.
The Fridays Conference was a reported reflection of the militarys 'policy statement given by Gen Kayani during his interactions with journalists on Thursday. Kayani had hinted that no more military operation was on the cards while he had impliedly stated that aggression from Afghanistan would be averted. Military operation is not a solution to every problem. Were done with those operations where we had to, he had said.
The APC is seen by many as a fizzled out and overrated moot that idealistically made generalised recommendations on the Pak-US relations. Nevertheless, Pakistan Army would have sufficient grounds to cite that APC had rejected military operations and demanded 'peace be given a chance instead, in future interactions with the US officials. During separate conversations with this journalist, renowned defence analysts including Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Tanvir Ahmed Khan, Ambassador (r) Rustam Shah Mohmand and Brigadier Imtiaz had categorically slammed the APC for being too idealistic and a clear deviation from reality.
According to sources, the commanders considered increasing number of troops of Frontier Corps in Upper Dir and Chitral against Afghan militants repeated aggression in those areas from Nuristan and Kunar provinces. Presently, 29 wings of the Frontier Corps total 59 are operational (collectively) in Chitral, Dir (Upper and Lower), Warsak, Kurram Agency, NWA and South Waziristan (SWA). Of these Frontier Corps wings, three wings each of Chitral Scouts and Dir Scouts are deployed in Chitral and Dir respectively, two wings of Swat Scouts in Warsak, six wings of Tochi Scouts, three wings of Shawal Rifles and Orakzai Scouts in NWA and six wings of South Waziristan Scouts are deputed in SWA. The recent troops deployment from Swat and other parts of Malakand Division saw the arrival of roughly a thousand troops from the 19th Division and other respective Divisions in Upper Dir and Chitral to guard the tribal belt against terrorism from Afghanistan.
General Kayani and his military aides also took stock of the repeated killings of members of Hazara Shiite community in Quetta. The city is primarily guarded by the Armys Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary. Frontier Corps 694 platoons while those of FCs 547 are operational in Balochistan. Of them, the FCs 495 platoons are operational and the remaining 52 are not directly operational with six being completely non-operational. In Quetta alone, the Frontier Corps has 51 platoons, Sibi 99 and Dera Bugti 84 platoons. Kohlu has 60, Sui 54 and Zhob has 45 platoons. The options regarding operational reshuffle in these platoons for improving law and order situation in Quetta and the rest of Balochistan reportedly remained under discussion in Corps Commanders Conference.
Sometime back, during his visit to Karachi, General Kayani had assured foolproof security to the traders of Pakistans cosmopolitan. The Friday meeting was unanimous that additional troops were not presently required to be sent to Karachi after the security situation improved there.