Defence minister calls for national consensus to kick off anti-terror operation

Condemning the disastrous suicide bombing inside a Peshawar mosque, which claimed at least 100 lives and injured over 220 people, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has stressed the need for national consensus just like the one reached for operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorism across the country.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday, he said the tragedy of the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar — which occurred on 16th December 2014 claiming the lives of about 150 innocent students, teachers and non-teaching staff of the school — had not been forgotten yet as another incident of terrorism happened in the country.

“A successful war was fought against terrorism from 2010 to 2017,” the federal minister said, adding that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government, which was ruling the country, eliminated the menace of terrorism.

“Several APS-like incidents occurred in KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa],” Asif said, adding that the terrorism devoured numerous precious lives.

Referring to the banned terror organisations, the defence minister said that the house (lower house of parliament) was told around two years ago that “these people” could be negotiated but any conclusive decision could not be made on the matter. He came down hard on Imran Khan-led government for its instance of dialogue with the proscribed outfits.

Stressing the need for national unity, the minister said that “we sowed the seeds of terrorism ourselves”.

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