‘Actions, not words needed:’ Shireen Mazari grills COAS

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s chief whip in the National Assembly Shireen Mazari on Thursday criticised Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Bajwa’s response to a United States drone strike in Hangu earlier this week.

The Monday night strike killed a Haqqani network commander Abubakar and his partner in the Speen Tal area of Hangu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We don’t expect  COAS to simply term US Drone strike on Hangu as “counter-productive” Mazari said in a tweet on Wednesday.

She also slammed what she called the army chief’s “three days of silence” after the drone strike. The army chief’s statement, however, came Wednesday night ─ two days after the strike.

COAS slams “Unilateral” US drone attack in Orakzai agency:

PESHAWAR: Reacting to the US drone strike on a militant hideout in Orakzai Agency on Tuesday, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said here on Wednesday that “unilateral actions like drone strikes” were counterproductive.

“Unilateral actions, like drone strike, etc., are counterproductive and against [the] spirit of…ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.

The army chief was given a briefing at the Corps Headquarters about the situation along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, ongoing and future operations, progress on development works and return of temporarily dislocated people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to their homes.

“Pakistan Army is capable of taking effective measure if actionable intelligence is shared,” he said, referring to the drone strike in the Spin Thall area of Orakzai Agency adjacent to North Waziristan Agency.

According to media reports, a US drone fired two missiles at a compound, killing two suspected militants, including a leader of the Haqqani network, Abubakar.

The ISPR, the public affairs wing of the armed forces, said that Gen Bajwa appreciated improved security situation and measures taken for better border management, including fencing. The army has started fencing the border in Mohmand and Bajaur tribal regions in an attempt to prevent infiltration of militants from Afghanistan.

Gen Bajwa expressed satisfaction on operational readiness of the army formations and asked them to stay vigilant against all types of threats.

He said that Pakistan considered Afghanistan a brotherly neighbour and terrorists were common enemies of the two countries.

“The threat thus requires a trust-based coordinated response rather than blame game or unwarranted skirmishes,” he was quoted as saying.

He said that now the army’s focus was on transforming operational achievements in Fata into enduring peace and stability for which early mainstreaming of tribal region through reforms was essential. The army fully supports all efforts towards that end.

Gen Bajwa said that brave tribal brothers, through their support, cooperation and resolve had enabled the security forces to succeed during the operations and now it was time for them to live a fearless and quality social life.

He said the army would continue its efforts to consolidate gains achieved thus far and added that the army stood with all other institutions to get Pakistan rid of menaces retarding its progress and prosperity.

Earlier, on arrival at the Corps Headquarters, the army chief was received by Commander Peshawar Corps Lt Gen Nazir Ahmad Butt.

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Azhar Hashmi

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