ISLAMABAD – Just when Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif is in US after their much awaited demand of military offensive against Haqqani Network, the Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign and Security Affairs gave pro-Taliban statement.
General Raheel Sharif, according Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has taken up the issue of outstanding dues in terms of military services provided to US and NATO forces by Pakistan Armed Forces. However, in recent past US had associated the payment of any such dues with the offense against those militants residing in ‘safe heavens at Af-Pak border’ which were targeting foreign forces in Afghanistan.
It is also on record that only after a week US associated payments with offensive against Haqqani Network, Pakistan Army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The country’s political leadership and military top brass were on same page to launch operation Zarb-e-Azb after months long peace dialogues with militants appeared to be a failure. However, a statement from Sartaj Aziz at this timing when General Raheel Sharif is meeting with US military’s top brass to fight the case of Pakistan Armed Forces somewhat tells a different outlook.
Sartaj Aziz clearly told the Britain’s news outlet that “Why should be attack those militants who keep nothing against Pakistan? When US attacked Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 incident, all those militants groups which US and Pakistan trained and armed jointly were pushed towards Pakistan. Now some of them are threat to our security while others not. Why should we engage all of them? US enemy does not has to be Pakistan’s enemy as well.”
What’s Happening in US?
Director General ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa confirmed that US Central Command (CentCom)’s Commander General Lloyd Austin had expressed appreciation for ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb. “The CentCom commander, while talking to General Raheel Sharif at CentCom Headquarters in Florida, paid tributes to Pakistan Army for its commitment, professionalism and achievement in fight against terror,” Bajwa added.
Moreover, the US State Department has also termed General Raheel Sharif’s visit and operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan as an important developemtn between Pak-US relations.
A State Department spokesman told journalists at the daily briefing that meetings with General Raheel were focusing on a range of issues, including border security, were positive and productive. He said we have a broad relationship with Pakistan and chief of the army staff’s visit will help further strengthen the bilateral ties.
Responding to a question, he acknowledged Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, including the ongoing ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ operation in North Waziristan, describing them as extremely important.