ISLAMABAD - The military started the first day of the New Year with the resolve to continue fighting terrorism till the elimination of the last terrorist from the Pakistani soil.

The top military brass Thursday, at 178th Corps Commander Conference, appreciated the national political leadership of the country for developing a rare consensus to end terrorism in the country after December 16 terrorist attack on a Peshawar school.

“The precious wider political consensus achieved against terrorism is not a small thing as this unity is a big achievement,” COAS General Raheel Sharif told the participants while chairing the conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. This consensus should not be lost to trivial issues, he said.

The COAS statement has particular significance against the backdrop of dithering in some political quarters over the legislation to effectively deal with the menace.

Continuing, the army chief said that entire nation was looking towards the political and military leadership of the country, after Dec 16 incident, to take bold and meaningful decisions leading to stern action against terrorists and their sympathisers.

“The key is for all institutions to join hands for an effective and a prompt implementation of a comprehensive national action plan without losing any further time,” Gen Raheel Sharif emphasised.

It was the first Corps Commander Conference after the Peshawar attack. The meeting reviewed the overall internal and external security situation in the country with a particular focus on the ongoing operations. Recent upsurge in Intelligence-Based Operations (IBOs) across the country also came under discussion.

The military sources said that during the meeting General Raheel took the corps commanders into confidence over the recently announced National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism agreed by the country’s political stakeholders.

The COAS also reviewed the homework done by all concerned for execution of their respective assigned tasks listed in the NAP and directed them to strictly follow the timelines. The participants endorsed the NAP and vowed that the army would work side by side with the citizens of Pakistan to counter the scourge of terrorism.

The sources said that the conference, while reaffirming support to democracy, also reviewed the prevailing political situation of the country. The corps commanders expressed grief over tragic loss of innocent lives in the Peshawar terrorist attack, showed their solidarity with the bereaved families and resolved not to stop operations till elimination of the last terrorist from Pakistani soil.

The Corps Commanders Conference also showed their serious reservations over the fresh border violations by Indian troops. Director General Military Operations briefed the commanders over the current border situation.

In the aftermath of the carnage at Peshawar’s Army Public School, the country’s political leadership has taken measures on emergency basis to chalk out a strategy to curb terrorism. A decision by the political leadership to establish military courts to try suspected terrorists in order to pave way for speedy trials has been one of the major developments in this regard. Moreover, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also lifted a long-held moratorium on death penalty, resulting in the execution of some of the terrorists that were tried under military laws.

Monitoring adds: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif said that the eyes of the entire nation were hooked onto the action plan being formulated by the political and military leadership against terrorists and their supporters, according to a media report.

At least nine armed terrorists (Taliban) had stormed the Army Public School in a dastardly attack finding no parallels in human history. The terrorists opened fire on innocent schoolchildren, leaving at least 143 of them dead, and scores injured.

The hurt that it caused not just to Pakistanis but all the humans in all parts of the world will continue forever, and the only solace the parents of the victims can have is a decisive step by the country’s leadership to wipe out the scourge of terror once and for all.

During the school attack, some of the 1,100 students at the school were lined up and slaughtered with shots to the head. Others were gunned down as they cowered under their desks, or forced to watch as their teachers were riddled with bullets.