No mention of full-fledged operation in Apex Committee huddle as per Gandapur: Asad Qaiser

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No mention of full-fledged operation in Apex Committee huddle as per Gandapur: Asad Qaiser

ISLAMABAD, JUN 24: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur did not mention any discussion regarding a new military operation, Azm-e-Istehkam — aimed at rooting out militancy — during the meeting of the Central Apex Committee on National Action Plan (NAP).

Gandapur, as the chief executive of KP, represented the country’s northwestern province in the crucial huddle chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by chief ministers of all provinces and Gilgit Baltistan, services chiefs, and chief secretaries of the provinces along with other senior civilian, military, and law enforcement agencies officers.

Qaiser said he spoke with the chief minister, who said no such matter was discussed there.

“Such discussions take place in routine for wherever there are issues… and strategies are also decided for it. But he [Gandapur] displayed incognizance regarding a full-fledged operation,” the senior politician revealed in an interview during Geo News programme ‘Naya Pakistan’ on Sunday.

The government Saturday had announced a fresh counter-terrorism operation, pledging to utilise the full strength of the country’s resources, including military, diplomatic, and legislative, to turn the heat up on militants.

The Central Apex Committee on NAP gave the approval for the operation following a significant surge in terrorist attacks in recent months resulting in scores of both civilian and security forces’ casualties.

Speaking about the operation, the PTI politician insisted that the KP chief minister mentioned the “routine discussion” of the meeting on the existing counter-terrorism actions, but “no discussion” about plans of a full-fledged operation happened.

On the other hand, Qaiser’s comments came in light of his party’s staunch opposition of the operation, as PTI’s Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan maintained that the legislature must be taken into confidence before the launch of any operation.

While speaking on the floor of the house a day earlier, Gohar said no matter where the operation is about to take place, the parliament should decide its parameters.

“The federal government should discuss this issue in the parliament before approving it. Even before, the military leadership has briefed the lawmakers. No Apex Committee is above this house,” said the PTI chief.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Sunday said the opposition was “standing with the terrorists” following their opposition towards the operation.

Reacting to the party’s resistance to the operation, the minister maintained that all the decision were taken in front of the KP chief minister, who is also PTI president in the province.

Asif said the Imran Khan-founded party’s protest in the parliament was tantamount to them supporting and standing with the terrorists.

Further commenting on the operation, Qaiser said that all the PTI MNAs will have a meeting with Ali Amin today and we would want to know from him what the decision was. He added that the party’s policy is clear about the parliament being taken in confidence.

The politician reiterated that the leadership of the Pushtoon community including political stakeholders such as Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and others should also be consulted on the matter, so that a comprehensive discussion stakes place.

“We do not want lawlessness and instability in the region in any situation,” he said.

On a question about reservations raised by Beijing, Qaiser said the Chinese should be protected and China’s concerns should be addressed but all of that should be done through the Parliament.

“Parliament makes the policy… It will suggest how to maintain peace and how China’s concern should be addressed.”

Earlier during the interview, Qaiser questioned how did the previous military operations benefit the country. He added that he has no idea how they are planning to execute the new operation.

“Operations were carried out in Swat and Waziristan, it should be reviewed whether they were successful or not,” he said.