Islamabad, May 31 (ANI): Pakistan has agreed in principle to launch an offensive in the restive North Waziristan and other areas identified by the US as militant hideouts, and is currently reviewing plans and discussing the right time frame to open a new front against the militants.
According to diplomatic sources, during the recent visit of President Obama's top two aides, National Security Adviser James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta, to Islamabad, both the Pakistani civilian and military leadership were told that Pakistan must reign in the terror groups flourishing in the troubled tribal region along the Afghan border
"The meetings led to an understanding between the two sides that Islamabad will extend its military operations to North Waziristan and other similar areas as well. They are now discussing when will be the right time to do so. When, not if," The Dawn quoted sources, as saying.
It is also believed that Friday's ghastly terror attack on two Lahore mosques, in which over 80 people were killed and several injured, has also worked to strengthen Islamabad's resolve to take on the militants with full force in North Waziristan, the terror hot bed where the failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad is said to have received training.
However, other knowledgeable sources pointed out that the Army is unlikely to launch any offensive in North Waziristan, until the US delivers the first batch of four F-16 fighter aircrafts to Pakistan.
"These warplanes would play a vital role, as they are equipped with night-time operational equipment and also capable of precision strikes", sources said.
Just a day ago, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani made it clear that the decision to enter into any battle with the extremists in North Waziristan rests only with Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Gilani had hinted that the military was ready to launch an offensive in the volatile and semi-autonomous tribal region.
"Military operations will be conducted at all places where the government's writ is challenged," Gilani had said earlier. (ANI)