Islamabad - Pakistan military Thursday said that the terrorists’ gang involved in Army Public School attack has been smashed. It said the massacre was ordered by TTP chief Mulla Fazlullah and most of the attackers belonged to Pakistan.

Nine out of 27 terrorists involved in the attack had been killed while 12 have been arrested - six each from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asim Bajwa said in a press briefing at military General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

General Asim Bajwa said two more culprits – Mulla Fazlullah and Umar Ameer – are still in Afghanistan. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are constantly sharing intelligence and they will be arrested or eliminated soon. He said intelligence sharing and coordination between Pakistan and Afghanistan is improving.

Bajwa said that APS attack was carried out on the directions of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Fazlullah, who selected Umar Ameer to supervise the attack. Six suicide bombers were selected for this purpose. Other terrorists involved in this attack included Commander Asif alias Haji Kamran, Commander Atiq-ur-Rehman, Kaif Qari, Mudassir, Taj, Misbah, Hazrat Ali, Sabeel alias Yahya, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, Saddam, Khurshid and Jabbani, General Bajwa said. He added that the facilitators included an Imam Masjid (prayer leader) who hosted three attackers for a night near APS Peshawar.

Replying to a question, ISPR DG said the members of busted gang had linkages with other incidents of terrorism too. He said that this gang had been involved in different attacks in Rawalpindi and adjoining areas. In Peshawar, this gang ruthlessly killed 122 persons in an attack at Mena Bazaar while it was also involved in attack on two army officers near Tarnol. Both the officers embraced martyrdom in the attack.

ISPR DG said it was not possible for a local terrorist organisation to operate without external support and funding. He said Indian involvement in Balochistan and Fata is well known, hinting at Indian support to TTP and other terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan. “We need to tell the world about this involvement,” he said, adding that this was time for the world to do more and support Pakistan in its campaign to completely eliminate terrorism. He said India was regularly resorting to unprovoked shelling on the Line of Control when Pakistan’s armed forces were fighting a war against terrorists.

To a question, the ISPR chief said over 2,000 terrorists so far have been killed in operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-One. He said 226 army personnel were martyred and 823 injured in these campaigns against terrorists. He said North Waziristan and Khyber agencies have been cleared, except for a couple of small pockets along Afghanistan border.

He said since June 15, last year, as many as 6002 intelligence based operations (IBOs) were carried out killing more than 2226 hardcore terrorists in ground operations and direct encounters. Asim Saleem Bajwa said that after December 16 attack, 1942 IBOs were conducted to smash terrorist networks. He made it clear that government, the armed forces and security agencies are resolved to eliminate terrorism once for all.

To a question on functioning of military courts, Bajwa said that initially nine military courts had been set up across the country. So far provinces have sent 12 cases of terrorists to interior ministry which had forwarded them to military courts for trials. He said in the beginning the case of criminals involved in killing of FC soldiers and officials of NGOs had been sent to military courts.

Asked about those displaced by military operations, ISPR DG said that return of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) from Fata would start in phases under a comprehensive plan from March, this year. He said huge funds would be required for complete rehabilitation of two million TDPs and appealed to the world community to extend whole hearted support to Pakistan in this regard.

About extradition of Mullah Fazlullah from Afghanistan, he said this demand was being raised at all appropriate levels, adding “We are getting positive response.” The DG ISPR said that Fazlullah was a known terrorist and he would either be apprehended or killed very soon.

Asim Bajwa said that there was no need to give opinion on the issue of Osama Bin Laden, saying, the army officers who commented on this issue had retired from army around 30 years ago. Regarding drone attacks, he said that Pakistan’s government had a very clear policy on the drone attacks. “Our Foreign Office always reacts when a drone attack is carried out.”