New Delhi: The US getting tough on Pakistan. It has given the country a deadline till July to capture five most wanted al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.
Pakistani security forces have been asked to capture al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Illyas Kashmiri, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Atia Abdur Rehman either in a unilateral or joint military action.
July is when NATO and allied forces begin withdrawing from neighbouring Afghanistan. PTI also quoted a report by The News - saying that the US demand has set alarm bells ringing in Pakistani civil and military circles. Pakistan's security forces have so far shown reluctance in launching a military offensive in North Waziristan despite sustained pressure from the US to do so.
Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik, the Corps Commander, supervising all military operations in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said, "We will undertake such an operation when it is in our national interest militarily," describing North Waziristan as "calm and peaceful as it was weeks ago".
Asked whether there was a need for such an operation, he said, "Maybe ultimately we will go to North Waziristan".
The military operation is unlikely to focus exclusively on the Haqqani network, the Dawn newspaper quoted military officials as saying.
Under US pressure to flush out militants from their stronghold of North Waziristan, Pakistani army is to launch a limited operation in the restive tribal belt and is unlikely to focus exclusively on the Haqqani terror network.
Without elaborating when the operation would be launched, the local media quoting unnamed sources said the campaign would be a limited one primarily targeting al Qaeda, Taliban and foreign fighters.
The US has been pressuring Pakistan to target the Haqqani network, which uses North Waziristan to conduct cross-border attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan.