No other country in the world faced the challenges Pakistan had to, made the human sacrifices as we did, and demonstrated the level of courage Pakistanis showed while fighting terror elements on our own soil, said Bajwa.
“The army went after terror networks in Pakistan including the Haqqani network” without any discrimination, he said and added, no such concept of good or bad Taliban existed.”
‘Afghanistan not managing its side of the border’
Speaking on the ongoing ‘Operation Zarb-i-Azb’, Bajwa said the country was going through a horrible phase of violence in the country when the Pakistan Army launched the operation on 15 June 2014.
In the year 2014 alone, the country suffered 311 improvised explosive device (IED) blasts and 26 suicide attacks, he said.
“Before the operation, the army took everyone onboard including the civil and military leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan, requesting the neighbouring country to manage border affairs on its side.”
However, Afghanistan did not take suitable measures for that matter, Bajwa said.
“The army stormed into North Waziristan (militant stronghold) when people were losing their loved ones due to militancy.”
By 2014, no one could dare to enter North Waziristan where people were being abducted for ransom, he added.
Bajwa said, during army’s assault in North Waziristan they recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition that, as per an estimation, was enough for another 21 years of terrorism.
Hate literature material was being circulated in the country from North Waziristan, he added.
“The army as a result of this operation cleared Shawwal from terrorists.”
Claiming Shawwal has now become Pakistan’s Switzerland, he said, “Locals want the army to stay there to provide stability and security and help them revive their economy.”
He told reporters that at least 537 personnel died while another 2,272 were injured in the operation..
‘Challenge in Khyber tougher than operation in Waziristan’
Shedding some light on the army operation in the once-troubled Khyber Agency, Bajwa said, offensive there was more challenging and tougher than the operation in Waziristan due to extremely porous nature of its border.
“But, the army dismantled terror network in the agency successfully.”
He said the army in Khyber Agency had to deal with IEDs and bases of the Afghan war times.
“At least 900 militants were killed in the agency after Pakistan Army broke major terror network there.”
It was also a reality that military operations forced thousands of locals to leave their homes in Waziristan and Khyber agencies; however, at least 56 per cent of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) have safely gone back to their agencies.
‘Gates on 18 crossing points between Pakistan and Afghanistan’
After successful military operations in the country, we are now sealing the borders, said Bajwa.
“Cross-border terrorism is a menace and to tackle this issue, organised border management, especially between Pakistan and Afghanistan is important.”
Pakistan army would make gates on the 18 major crossing points between Pakistan and Afghanistan with a proper immigration system, Bajwa announced.
He said, “the army was concerned over the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan since it was trying to enter Pakistan,” and added, a potential threat of IS militants from the neighbouring country was one of the many reasons Pakistan started focussing more on border managing.
‘With 74 per cent decline in terrorism, Karachi going back to life’
Turning attention to the Karachi operation, Bajwa said, the situation in the city was improving and that the social life was restoring there.
“Karachi saw 74 per cent decline in terrorism, 94 per cent decline in the number of target killings and 95 per cent decline in extortion cases since Rangers started a crackdown against militants in the city.”
He added that abduction for ransom cases also went down to 89 per cent after the operation in the port city.
“There was a whole terror network in Karachi when the city used to come to a standstill on a single phone call from London.”
Regarding a recent attack on ARY News Karachi Bureau, he said, culprits who attacked the channel have been arrested.
Bajwa clarified while commenting on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief’s hate speeches that not a single statement against Pakistan would be tolerated.
‘There is a growing influence of India in Balochistan’
Regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Balochistan, General Bajwa said, people in Balochistan themselves reacted to his unnecessary statement.
He said, with the Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav’s arrest, an entire network of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was busted in Pakistan.
It was a huge success and an obvious evidence of Indian involvement at the same time in Pakistan’s internal affairs.
“There has been a growing influence of India in Balochistan aimed at disrupting peace in the province.”
He said, no one would be allowed to use Pakistan’s soil for terrorism.