Senate: (Senate Committee on Defence briefed on Operation Zarb-e-Azb)

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Defence Committee visited Peshawar, where it was briefed by the Governor, Chief Minister and the Corps Commander, on the progress made under Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the anti-terror campaign, FATA TDPs situation and shelling from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

This was said by the Chairman, Senate Defence Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, in a statement issued here on Tuesday. The delegation comprising nine Senators was received at the Corps Headquarters by the Corps Commander, Lt Gen Hidayatur Rahman.

“The Senate Defence Committee was told that since 9/11, the Pakistan Army had suffered casualties of 4354 Jawans and officers martyred, 14552 wounded, while in 2015 alone, as a result of successful civil-military coordination, there were almost 1100 Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) resulting in capture of terrorists and saving of innocent civilian lives,” said Senator Mushahid, adding that the Senate Defence Committee was also briefed on the ongoing Shawal operation.

Later, the Senate delegation visited the Governor House where, the Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, briefed the Committee on the ongoing reforms in FATA and implementation of rule of law, new development programmes and initiatives to build civilian capacity so that once the military operations end, there is no vacuum on the civilian governance.

On the occasion, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Corps Commander, Lt Gen Hidayatur Rahman, IG KPK, Nasir Khan Durrani and other high-ups were also present.

The Committee was also briefed about the TDPs, and of the 1.8 million Temporarily Displaced Persons, almost 400,000 had returned to their homes. The whole process of repatriation would require approximately Rs 80 billion, of which the Federal Government had allocated Rs 13 billion.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak told the Committee about police reforms, especially the modernization of police reporting and investigation, and making the police system people-friendly with the use of Information Technology.

Mushahid Hussain, while expressing gratitude to the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Corps Commander for their warm hospitality, urged the international community to fulfil their international obligations for the TDPs of FATA, as security of FATA is vital for the stability of not only Pakistan but the whole region.

He also praised the valiant Armed Forces, the paramilitary forces and Police for their heroic sacrifices in the struggle against terrorism and extremism.

Senator Mushahid was of the view that the Senate as the House of the Federation would play its due role in promoting and protecting the due rights of the people of FATA, as development of FATA strengthens the defence of Pakistan.

The Committee delegation included Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qayyum, Senator Lt Gen (r) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Senator Maulana Attaur Rahman, Senator John Kenneth Williams, Senator Hidayatullah, Senator Ilyas Bilour and Senator Javed Abbasi.