Bilawal for Military Action to Eradicate Taliban

Snehesh Alex Philip/Islamabad
Bilawal for Military Action to Eradicate Taliban

Pakistan People's Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari today sought military action to eradicate the Taliban as the option of talks with the militants has been "exhausted".

"I think we have exhausted the option of talks...Dialogue is always an option but we have to have a position of strength. How do you talk from a position of strength? You have to beat them on the battlefield. They are fighting us," he said.

Any military action should not be confined to North Waziristan tribal region and operations should be conducted "to eradicate the Taliban from Pakistan", the 25-year-old Bhutto family scion told BBC in an interview.

His remarks came as the government mulls options to tackle militancy following a spate of attacks targeting security forces across the country. In recent weeks, Bilawal has criticised leaders like Imran Khan for failing to back decisive action against the Taliban.

He said it was time to "wake up" to threats posed by militants. Noting that his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari, was the "only one to lead successful military operations", he said national consensus built by the previous PPP-led government had been "squandered by politicians" who are confusing the nation "because they are scared (and) cowards".

"I had thought that the assassination of my mother would finally wake this country up," Bilawal said, referring to the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto by a suicide attacker in 2007.

"The face of Pakistan should not be Osama bin Laden or the terrorists or murderers on a daily basis, it should be the face of those heroes who stand up to them and give this country hope," he said.

"It is...Benazir Bhutto who stands up to the Taliban and says that I will fight you."

There has been intense speculation about a possible targeted military operation against militant groups, especially the Pakistan, in recent weeks.

The Pakistan Air Force last week bombed suspected militant hideouts in North Waziristan, a haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda elements. The operation took many by surprise as this was the first time air strikes were carried out in the region since a ceasefire was finalised with local Taliban chiefs in 2007.

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