Islamabad: The military and national security aides to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have submitted a "range of options" to crush terrorism with an iron hand in the aftermath of the brazen assault on Karachi airport by the Taliban apparently using Uzbek fighters.
Sharif presided a high-level meeting on Tuesday with his national security team after the attack on Karachi airport, Dawn reported. A source claimed that the military urged a sterner response to the attacks by Taliban.
The military's case has been built on the premise that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has again started owning up the strikes at key places, which army thought was crossing of the red-line.
Officials were not ready to say if the government agreed to the military demand for more punitive strikes. "The Prime Minister is looking at a range of options and a final decision may be taken at a meeting of the National Security Committee likely to be held later this week or next week," an official said.
A brief statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said "matters relating to internal and regional security, including FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Karachi and Balochistan were discussed" during the meeting. Those who attended the meeting included Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad and head of counter-intelligence at ISI Maj Gen Nasir Dilawar Shah.
The meeting also reviewed reports by law-enforcement agencies on the recent incidents based on preliminary findings. Meanwhile, Uzbek militants fighting with the Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday said that they carried out Sunday's deadly assault on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan posted photos of 10 men in black turbans holding AK-47s who had sought revenge for military air strikes. At least 37 people, including 10 militants, were killed in the airport raid. DNA tests are being conducted on the gunmen, who officials in Karachi said appeared to be of Uzbek origin.