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Pak govt ready to take on Taliban in tribal belt: report

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has decided to take the battle to the Taliban in the restive tribal belt of North Waziristan and a military crackdown is “just a matter of time”, a media report said
PTI January 29, 2014 15:22 IST
PTI
Islamabad: The Pakistan government has decided to take the battle to the Taliban in the restive tribal belt of North Waziristan and a military crackdown is “just a matter of time”, a media report said today.  

“More than one option is being considered for going into North Waziristan Agency (NWA); it's just a matter of time now,” a government official privy to the development was quoted as saying by Dawn News.

The official said the military planning would take time but the ball had been set rolling by the PML-N government in meetings between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Gen Raheel Sharif over the past week or so.  

Asked about the ambiguity that seemed to define PML-N's stance vis-a-vis the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the official claimed that the government genuinely wanted talks with the militants but the back-to-back attacks on civilians and  military personnel had forced a re-think.  

“The government is left with no other option but to use force,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.  The report said that Sharif gave a go-ahead for the use of force at a January 24 meeting which was attended by civilians as well as military officials.

The officials that attended the meeting included Chief of the Army Staff Gen Sharif, ISI DG Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Ashfaq Nadeem, DGMO Maj Gen Amir Riaz, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan among others.  

Information Minister Pervez Rashid, while talking to journalists on Monday, had dropped some hints about the government's strategy.