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COAS, Nawaz meet as patience runs out over Taliban violence

19 February, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif, had an important and unscheduled 100-minute meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here at the Prime Minister's Office.

They exchanged views about the violence perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and hide and seek with the talks process. No word has been given officially about the meeting from either side.

The sources told this scribe that both the PM and COAS were in complete harmony over the future course of action dealing with terror. The two were pained over the unabated killing of the men in uniform without any justification. They decided that the state of Pakistan will not budge to the tactics of the terrorists and no tool of blackmailing would be allowed to work any further.

"The opportunity of dialogue came once the outlawed elements expressed the desire for it. Since the government was averse to bloodshed, it opted for the same although the nation was in rage over the events prior to that," the sources said, attributing the opinion to the COAS and the PM.

They revealed that Nawaz, enjoying full confidence of the nation and armed forces, would soon make the position of the government public at an appropriate time for dealing with the terrorists. They have resolved that the TTP wouldn't be permitted now to make a mockery of the talks. The message for the talks and peace after every act of massive killing has become a cruel joke, they said.

The prime minister was exasperated over the incident of assassination of police, FC personnel, martyrdom of a soldier and two majors one after the other. Both the PM and the COAS were saddened over the incidents, the sources maintained.

In the meanwhile, they said resumption of talks had become extremely difficult with the TTP. The government would consider the resumption of dialogue now if the TTP announced ceasing hostilities at once unconditionally and there was no more act of violence. The TTP will have to refrain from levelling baseless allegations, they said.

It is likely that commanders of the armed forces will have informal consultations in the next few hours where an effective strategy would be evolved to deal with the situation. The sources declined to comment on the initiation of the operation clean-up any time soon in the troubled areas where the militants have built their hideouts.

End.

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