2016 to see end of terrorism in Pakistan: Army chief

KARACHI: Pakistan Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif on Friday said 2016 will be the year of unity and eliminating terror from the country.

“With the support of the nation, we will root out terrorism, crime and corruption and will make peace and justice prevalent in the country,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted the army chief as saying.

General Raheel visited Talar and Turbat districts of Balochistan province before arriving at Gwadar where he held discussions with Baloch elders.

The army chief’s statement comes just hours after the military’s media wing, ISPR, announced that General Raheel confirmed the death sentences for nine terrorists convicted by military courts.

“The hardcore terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including attack on Parade Lane Mosque, Inter-Services Intelligence Headquarters, Multan, attacks on Law Enforcement Agencies, kidnapping and killing civilians in Lahore. These convicts were tried by military courts,” the statement said.

The Pakistan Army is currently carrying out a military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, against militants in its northwestern region. Officials claim that over 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the offensive in June 2014 with authorities vowing to intensify operations both in the border regions and across the country.

Zarb-e-Azb does seem to have had a positive impact on militant attacks, which have been down overall, with some shocking exceptions, such as the December massacre by Taliban gunmen of more than 130 children at a school in Peshawar.

But doubts have been raised about the transparency of the operation and the identities of those killed.

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