A least 11 outlawed TTP terrorists, including a key commander and would-be suicide bombers, were eliminated when security forces raided their hideout in the Wana area of South Waziristan.
The information about the raid was shared by the ISPR on Thursday evening, which said the operation foiled a major terrorist activity.
On the other hand, five policemen were injured in terrorist attacks in Dera Ismail Khan and Lakki Marwat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the details, the security forces targeted the terrorist hideout in Wana during an intelligence-based operation in Wana. TTP commander Hafizullah and two would-be suicide bombers were among those killed, says the ISPR.
“During intense exchange of fire, 11 terrorists, including terrorist commander Hafizullah alias Tor Hafiz, and two suicide bombers were killed.”
“A huge quantity of weapons and ammunition was also recovered from the killed terrorists,” the military’s media wing added.
It said the terrorists were actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces and target killing of police in the district.
Who was Hafizullah?
Hafizullah had been involved in attacks on police stations in Azam Warsak, Raghzai and Wana besides extortion and kidnapping of local, local officials say.
The 40-year-old Taliban militant – who belonged to Tojay Khel, a Wazir sub-tribe – had joined Uzbeks in Wana before 2007, when Mullah Nazir, a local militant, and local people started resistance against Uzbek militants to force them out of the area.
Hafizullah stayed quiet for a while but later joined the banned TTP and went to Afghanistan. He returned to Pakistan after Mullah Nazir was killed in a drone attack, local officials said, claiming that the TTP affiliates had gone to Afghanistan but those who belonged to Wana were allowed to return.
Sources said that those who had returned to Pakistan grouped together after some time under Hafizullah’s leadership.
“Hafizullah is believed to have been involved in attacks on security forces after the peace talks between the government and the banned outfit failed,” the sources said.
They added Hafizullah escaped an attack following his return from Afghanistan when some unknown persons opened fire at him, leaving him seriously wounded. After his recovery, he started terrorising the district, they added.
Attacks on police
Meanwhile, terrorists again targeted police this time in Dera Ismail Khan and Lakki Marwat, wounding least five officials.
In DI Khan, a police team deployed for the protection of an anti-polio team came under a gun attack in a remote part of town, resulting in injuries to five officials.
“Unknown militants armed with sophisticated weapons opened indiscriminate firing on the police party assigned to protect a team of the polio workers,” a police official said, adding that condition of all the injured police personnel was satisfactory.
Meanwhile, an attack launched by militants on the Wargarey police station late Thursday night was repulsed by police officials and residents of the area.
Police said that militants attacked the police station located in the Bittani sub-division of erstwhile Fata with heavy weapons. However, local residents and police repulsed the attack, forcing the militants to flee. Police and local fighters remained unhurt in the attack.
No talks with terrorists, militant groups
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday said the recently-held National Security Committee (NSC) meeting had decided that there will be “no talks with any terrorist or militant group”.
Rana Sana said the NSC had decided that any talks, if needed, should be held with the Afghan government [Afghan Taliban] so that the importance of the Doha agreement, wherein the country had vowed to not allow its soil to be used against others, could be stressed.
“If that is implemented, then the issue of terrorism in Pakistan and other countries will be solved, and Pakistan will be safe if Afghanistan honours its promise.”
He was asked about the explicit threat issued by the TTP to the PPP and the PML-N for “openly declaring war against the TTP to appease America” during a press conference in Islamabad.
The TTP statement pointedly mentioned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif by name, as well as their respective parties, and warned religious parties against “activities against us”.
Rana Sana said: “Let me make it clear once again that it is mandatory for them to abide by the law and to assure the state that they accepts its writ.”
He made it clear that surrendering before the constitution was a prerequisite for holding any talks with the TTP. “If the TTP decides to come under the ambit of the Constitution then we can hold talks with them,” Rana Sana told reporters.
The NSC, the federal minister recalled, stressed that no form of militancy would be tolerated and a “zero-tolerance” policy had been adopted against terrorism. “There will no distinction between good and bad terrorists.”
Rana Sana’s latest statement is a continuation of what he had stated earlier when he ruled out any talks with the outlawed TTP or any other terror outfit, as he shared the details of the NSC meeting.
He had even threatened to target the TTP militants in Afghanistan if Kabul does not take action to dismantle them.
The minister said that Pakistan had decided to share evidence with the Taliban government as the terrorists based in Afghanistan were involved in terror activities across the border. He reiterated that international laws allowed action in case of aggression in self-defence.
The interior minister said Afghanistan had promised that its territory would not be used against any other country, and the Afghan government would be asked to fulfil that promise.
He added, in an interview, that the army chief had categorically said mixed messages should not be given on the issue of negotiations with terrorists, the narrative should be clear that there would be no negotiations with any terrorists. Gen Asim Munir made the point during the meeting in clear terms with the evidence, said Rana Sana.