‘No decision yet on operation in North Waziristan’

ISLAMABAD — A senior military commander of Pakistan army has dismissed as ‘speculative’ reports of an impending military operation in the militant-infested North Waziristan and insisted that no decision had been taken so far.

By Afzal Khan

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Published: Sun 19 Aug 2012, 12:23 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:52 AM

“It doesn’t seem so,” responded Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Khalid Rabbani when asked if a military operation in North Waziristan was imminent. “No such decision is in front of me,” he said at a dinner in Peshawar on Thursday evening.

The Peshawar corps commander, whose area of military jurisdiction includes North Waziristan, took a swipe at reports in Western media that Pakistan had agreed to undertake a military operation in North Waziristan.

“I asked one of my officers this morning, ‘who is carrying out the operation?’ At least I am not aware of any such operation,” he said in a lighter vein.

Guarded and careful, Gen. Rabbani said that political ownership and national consensus were pre-requisites for any decision to launch a military operation in North Waziristan.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta claimed early this week that Pakistan had told US military officials that it planned to launch combat operations against militants in North Waziristan. He also said that it would be soon.

But Gen. Rabbani sought to play down claims by Panetta, saying that a decision on “when to launch an operation, why to launch an operation and against whom to launch the operation, would be made in Pakistan and not outside”.

“Let me tell you, the decision will be made in Islamabad and not outside. Whenever there is an operation, if there is an operation, it will be done by the Pakistan Army. There will be no foreign signature or footprints,” Rabbani was quoted by the media as saying.

“The decision will have to be made in our own environment,” he added.


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