The Pakistan army said today that it has arrested militants behind the attack on a police team near the residence-cum-office of Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in which 26 people were killed and 58 others injured last month. Briefing reporters on the ongoing military operation ‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ launched in February to eliminate militants’ facilitators and financiers, Military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said targeted operations were continuing.
‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ translates roughly to ‘elimination of discord’.
He said a military operation code-named Khyber-4 was unleashed last month to clear Rajgal valley of Khyber, one of the seven tribal regions.
A total of 52 militants and two soldiers were killed in the operation.
Ghafoor said that militants involved in perpetrating suicide attacks on prominent personalities, including the Punjab chief minister had been apprehended.
On July 24, a Taliban suicide bomber struck a police team near the residence-cum-office of Sharif in Lahore, killing at least 26 people, including policemen, and wounding 58 others.
Pakistan would continue diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris while India was trying to label the freedom movement there as terrorism, he said.
Ghafoor also claimed that some of the improvised explosive devices recovered by the security forces were made in India.
Ghafoor rejected the rumours of divide between civilian and military institutions.
“There is friction sometimes, but there are no problems between the civil and the military,” the officer said.
He said the Army would be the part of any dialogue with the state institutions after Senate Chairman Main Raza Rabbani suggested consultations involving the government, army and judiciary.
Hitting out at Pakistan’s judiciary and the military establishment, ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on August 12 said “a few people” cannot be allowed to rule over 200 million people of the country.
Delivering a fiery speech near Lahore, 67-year-old Sharif targeted the five judges of apex court for forcing him to quit and those in the military establishment who played a role in his ouster.