ISLAMABAD, June 15 — Terrorist activities ranging from the attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, attacks on the police rescue and training centers in Lahore, the murder of Pakistan’s respected religious scholar Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, and the attack on the mosque in Nowshehra last Friday have been claimed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mehsud, according to the governor of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Awais Ghani, who also said Sunday, “Now the armed forces have been asked to eliminate him wherever he is hiding.”
Ghani told a press conference in Islamabad’s Frontier House, “The government has decided to launch an operation against militants in FATA”, referring to Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
“It has been decided that a comprehensive and decisive operation will be launched to eliminate Baitullah Mehsud and dismantle his network,” Ghani said.
He said the Taliban’s actions did not match their words.
Ghani read out a long list at his press conference of what he termed “crimes against humanity committed by Baitullah Mehsud.”
“We have repeatedly asked the Mehsud tribe through tribal elders to end their criminal activities and advised them not to shelter foreign militants.”
“The government will not tolerate any act against the security of the people’s lives and property at any cost,” he said.
“They kept on their miscreant activities and continued to harbor terrorists. As a result, many people have lost their lives in suicide attacks in Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, and today in Dera Ismail Khan,” the governor said.
He said the Taliban had committed a reprehensible act by kidnapping students of the Razmak Cadet College and of training innocent teenagers for carrying out suicide attacks. Governor Ghani said the army had been ordered to launch a crackdown on militants in the FATA.
In an address to combat soldiers, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Monday said, “the current operations are meant to deal with misguided people. People who train suicide bombers, attack mosques, and commit crimes against innocent people.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi on Monday told the Financial Times of London that if Pakistan is not given the required assistance by its allies, the Taliban could spread their operations to other countries.
Also on Monday, the Interior Minister told reporters here, “Taliban are receiving their reinforcements from Afghanistan’s soil.”
He said, “We will take up the matter with the government of Afghanistan to block reinforcement trails of Taliban.”