Opposition parties refuse to support Sharif’s anti-terror operation Azm-i-Istehkam
The federal government on Saturday approved a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism campaign, Operation Azm-i-Istehkam

at 11:19 pm
File pic of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman

Islamabad, June 24: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s ambitious anti-terrorism operation Azm-i-Istehkam has run into rough weather with more and more opposition parties refusing to support it.

After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) declared their opposition to it, demanding that the military leadership take Parliament into confidence first, the Awami National Party (ANP) has declared the Azm-e-Istehkam unacceptable under any circumstances.

The Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also expressed the party’s opposition to the anti-terror military operation.

On Monday, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, with the PTI at its helm, announced it would not support Operation Azm-e-Istehkam until its details and procedures are clarified.

In a media briefing in Islamabad, K-P Information Adviser Barrister Saif stated that a meeting led by Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur took place at Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa House, with the participation of National Assembly members. The operation’s specifics were discussed.

“The prime minister’s statement on Operation Azm-e-Istehkam has created confusion,” said Saif. “The public has not been informed about the operation’s method and duration.”

“Consultation with provinces is essential for any action against terrorism. This is a critical issue linked to national security, and the war against terrorism has cost billions,” he said.

He stressed that the federal government should take parliament and provincial assemblies into confidence for actions against terrorism and consult all political parties in Pakistan. “We cannot decide on supporting the operation until its details are clear,” he added.

Announcing the PTI’s opposition to the operation, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar emphasised, “Any military operation must involve parliamentary consent. Parliament is supreme under the Constitution.”

Asad Qaiser declared, “We cannot endorse any military operation without parliamentary involvement. Significant decisions are being made without consulting the opposition.”

ANP leader Mian Iftikhar expressed serious reservations about the decision to launch Operation Istehkam Pakistan.

He criticized the operation as a unilateral decision, noting a lack of trust in both negotiations and military actions among the people. He questioned on whose directive General Faiz initiated negotiations and how 40,000 terrorists infiltrated the country.

Iftikhar called for both national and provincial assemblies to be taken into confidence regarding the operation.

The ANP leader announced that the party would convene an All Parties Conference (APC) to discuss Operation Istehkam Pakistan in detail.

The chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, also criticised the decision to launch Operation Azm-e-Istehkam, saying it was made without consulting Parliament.

“Operation Azm-e-Istehkam was decided without any consideration for the Parliament,” said Rehman. “Pakistan needs political stability, not military operations.”

Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also expressed the party’s opposition. “It will turn out to be an instability operation if launched,” he said while adding that the political parties would have to bear the brunt of the decisions taken by others.

“The state’s writ is insignificant in many areas as the proscribed organizations are roaming freely and creating an atmosphere of terror and fear in the minds of the people”, he added.

Criticising the incumbent government, Fazl, who was chief of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement, said that PM Shehbaz Sharif is not the premier, he is “only sitting on the throne”.

On Saturday, the federal government approved a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism campaign, Operation Azm-i-Istehkam, that symbolised the national resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism from Pakistan.