The government consulting coalition partners about convening APC


The government said on Friday it was consulting coalition partners about convening an all-parties conference (APC) to discuss a recently announced military operation, Azm-e-Istehkam or Resolve for Stability, as former prime minister Imran Khan said his party would participate to find out more about it.
Last month, Pakistan’s top national security body notified its decision to launch the operation amid a spike in militant violence across the country.
Leading opposition factions, including Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, objected to the announcement without any debate over the issue in national parliament. They also maintained such an operation would “only lead to further instability in the country.”
Following the backlash, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office issued a statement, clarifying that “no large-scale military operation” would be launched in the country. With few details available in public on the contours of Operation Azm-e-Istehkam, the government has now planned to convene the APC to address the concerns of political stakeholders in the country.
“Our consultation process [on the APC] is ongoing,” Information Minister Attaullah Tarar said in a news conference in the federal capital. “The consultation is going on with regards to Operation Azm-e-Istehkam.”
The minister confirmed the government had completed one round of negotiations with its allies, adding further talks would be held before announcing the meeting’s specific date and agenda.
Earlier today, ex-PM Khan said his party would participate in the APC where the government was planning to take major political parties into confidence over the military operation.
“My party will participate in the all-parties conference and hear what the government has to say,” he told reporters as he appeared to face a case against him at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, where he has been incarcerated on multiple charges.
Referring to Khan’s statement, Tarar hoped he would stand his decision.
“Azm-e-Istehkam is a national issue and all political parties should be taken on board,” the minister emphasized while responding to a question if the PTI would be invited to the APC.
Speaking to Arab News, Zaigham Khan, a security analyst, said the government was trying to fix the “communication debacle” which it had made by announcing a full-scale military operation and then issuing a clarification it would not be kinetic.
“The opposition got a leverage point through this debacle and announced a disapproval of the military operation,” he continued, saying that Pakistan was a victim of a proxy war being waged and supported by the Afghan Taliban who were arming and protecting militants associated with a banned network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
“There was no need to rebrand the military operation as the troops are already engaged in eliminating terrorism by carrying out different intelligence-based operations,” he added. “The ongoing military operation against terrorists should have been intensified instead of being rebranded without any prior and effective consultation with all political parties.”
He expressed his doubt about the government’s ability to pacify the opposition parties by addressing their concerns about the operation.
“The political environment is so divisive at the moment that the government may find it hard to get a clear approval for the military operation from all political parties,” he maintained.