Prabhasakshi Exclusive: Why has Pakistan’s Azm-e-Istehkam campaign created panic among terrorists?

This week in CricketInFocus News Network’s special program Shaurya Path, we wanted to know from Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) what is the meaning of the ‘Azam-e-Istehkam’ campaign launched by Pakistan? In response to this, he said that if you look at the Hindi name of this campaign, it is – Resolution of Stability. He said that seeing the way Pakistan is facing instability on every front, there is a dire need to bring stability there. He said that it is a good thing that the government there is giving priority to dealing with terrorism, but now it has to be seen whether once again there is a difference between their words and actions.

Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) said that the Pakistan government has approved a new military operation called ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ in view of the rise in violence and terrorism. He said that the initiative was taken after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif reviewed the country’s counter-terrorism operations. He said that Operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ is aimed at countering domestic security threats and armed fighters coming from Afghanistan, especially amid growing tensions between Islamabad and Kabul. He said that the office of Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif announced plans to “intensify” efforts against “terrorists”. He said that the opposition there is, however, saying that the government has not taken them into confidence.

Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) said that a release from the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that this military operation will bring all law enforcement agencies on one platform and remove loopholes that hinder prosecution and severe punishment to terrorists. He said that this announcement comes amid a sharp increase in violent incidents in the last 18 months. Most of the attacks in Pakistan have been claimed by the TTP. He said that the TTP ended the ceasefire in November 2022. He said that Pakistan has accused Kabul of harboring TTP members, although the Taliban government denies this charge. He said that there could be a potential escalation of tension if Pakistan’s military operation spreads to Afghanistan.

Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) said that in March Pakistan also carried out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against suspected Pakistani Taliban hideouts, which was publicly confirmed by the Foreign Office. He said that apart from this, Pakistan’s operation is also being carried out keeping in mind China’s concerns about the security of the $ 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said that the security of Chinese citizens and projects has become important after several attacks, including the death of five Chinese engineers in March 2024.

Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) said that in addition, last year, Pakistan faced a near default and a controversial election was held amid significant domestic political turmoil. A large-scale military operation was not possible under those circumstances, so it will be carried out now. He said that Pakistan is in dire need of economic help at this time and it will be available only when it is able to come out of the black list of international financial institutions, so Pakistan is also going to launch such an operation.

Brigadier Shri DS Tripathi (Retd) said, however, there are concerns about the potential success of this operation. He said armed groups target security forces to undermine government interests while maintaining public support. Lack of public support in violence-affected provinces could hinder the effectiveness of this operation. He said, in addition, the Pakistani Taliban do not have any permanent bases in Pakistan, they operate temporarily, frequently changing locations. If Pakistan conducts cross-border operations in Afghanistan, it could increase tensions between the two countries.

Brigadier DS Tripathi (Retd) said since 2001, Pakistan Army has carried out several high-profile operations like ‘Zarb-e-Azb’, ‘Rah-e-Nijat’ and ‘Rah-e-Rast’ against domestic terrorists in border areas. However, these efforts have failed to completely eliminate the militant groups. He said under pressure from China, Pakistan government has approved Azm-e-Istehkam. He said amid opposition concerns, the Pakistani Defence Minister has however said that Parliament will be consulted on the issue of new military operation against terrorists. He said former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party had demanded that any new operation should be discussed at the highest forum.

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