Islamabad - Pakistan Army said yesterday that it has foiled the attempts of Islamic State (Daesh) to organise itself in Pakistan by carrying out timely operations.

Pakistan Army spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa in media briefing said 309 terrorists belonging to Daesh have been arrested - including 25 foreigners of Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi nationalities.

The core group comprised of around two dozen people while the whole body had organised itself into two main groups – the Kutaiba Haris (planning wing) and Kutaiba Mubashir (militant wing), revealed Bajwa, who is director-general of Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR). They were also trying to get local criminal and terrorist groups to join them, he added.

As many as 25 people led by Hafiz Umer were responsible for the attacks on the Faisalabad Dunya office, Lahore Din News office, Express News Sargodha office, and ARY News Islamabad office, he said.

The IS had planned to carry out attacks in the capital’s diplomatic enclave, particularly on the Foreign Ministry and on foreign embassies, consulates and their employees, Bajwa said. They had also planned to target Islamabad airport and prominent public figures.

“The whole network was caught,” said Lt-Gen Bajwa. “Even their shadow will not be tolerated in Pakistan.”

Cost, nature of war

ISPR DG said Pakistan incurred staggering losses in men and material in the war against terror and therefore, no one should doubt Pakistan’s intention to fight the menace. The cost of this war tallied up to $106.9 billion, Bajwa said.

Answering questions, he said that Pakistan Army did not play any favourites including Haqqani Network during the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb. “The operation was carried out without any regard of good or bad Taliban”, he added.

Details of operations

Giving update on achievements of Zarb-e-Azb operation, he said 3,500 terrorists have so far been killed and 992 hideouts destroyed. He added that 900 terrorists have been killed in Khyber operation.

Zarb-i-Azb commenced on June 15, 2014, after an attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. The operation which has gone on for over two years is now in its final phase.

The ISPR DG said that 537 personnel of armed forces were martyred and 2,272 injured in the military operations against terrorists.

Gen Bajwa said 21,383 intelligence based operations (IBOs) have been carried out in the entire country during which 222 terrorists were killed and 31,400 arrests made. There have been 168 combing operations leading to 744 arrests.

He said there has been a marked improvement in security and law and order situation due to these operations. Entire infrastructure of terrorists has been dismantled in north-western tribal areas.

About Karachi operation, ISPR chief said visible reduction has been witnessed in target killings, extortions and kidnapping for ransom. He said 447 target killers were eliminated during the operation in the financial hub of the country. He said that discussions about Rangers role in Punjab were also underway.

Pak-Afghan border

Asim Bajwa said Pakistan is establishing border posts and deploying FC personnel to keep a check on cross border movement, especially to check terrorist infiltration, but the Afghan side is not fulfilling its commitment in this regard.

He said proper gates would be installed at 18 major crossing points between Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of ongoing border management programme. Staff of immigration and other relevant departments would be posted there to ensure that no one crosses the border without valid documents.

ISPR DG expressed his concern over the presence of TTP elements, including Mullah Fazlullah, in Afghanistan who had fled into the neighbouring country during the military operations and are now enjoying safe heavens there. He emphasised the need for deeper cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan to tackle terrorism and extremism.

IDPs return

The ISPR DG said an Infrastructure Development Plan has been prepared for terrorism affected areas. Under it, 705 kilometres of roads in North and South Waziristan have been constructed to serve as new trade corridor between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said 66 percent TDPs have also returned to their areas while the target is completing this process by the year end.

Altaf issue

Responding to a question about Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan statements, Bajwa termed Altaf a foreigner residing 5,000km away from Pakistan.

“It is unacceptable for every Pakistani if Altaf Hussain raises anti-Pakistan slogans. The government is already taking action on this issue. There has been lots of action on the ground against his incitement to violence. People have been caught and action taken... Everything is before you,” Bajwa said.