“After restraining the army for three days, the prime minister himself authorised the strikes last night,” the government official said. “It was the only option to teach the Taliban a lesson.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif authorised the air strikes, a source in his office said – a possible sign he was finally giving in to pressure from the military for tougher military action against Pakistani Taliban strongholds.
Sharif, who came to power last year promising to find a negotiated peace with the Taliban, has been trying to engage the militants in negotiations.
In an unusually tough statement, Sharif’s spokesman said in televised remarks late on Wednesday that the army was capable of crushing all enemies.
He further said that the decision to conduct air strikes in North Waziristan was taken by the military leadership after the approval of the premier.
Sources said the decision over the attacks on militant hideouts in North Waziristan was made after three consecutive days of meetings between the government and military leadership.
However, the government is in favour to continue the dialogue process and the committee has been directed to make contact with Taliban after they stop their terror activities.
At least 172 people including police and army personnel were martyred in 19 days during dialogues with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Pakistani jets bombed militants’ hideouts in a northwestern tribal district early Thursday, killing at least 35 militants.
According to the sources, the aircraft bombarded suspected militant hideouts in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan as part of surgical strikes which they said should not be taken as military operation.
“There are confirmed reports of 35 militants including foreigners killed in these air strikes,” a senior security official told, adding that the attacks focused on the town of Mir Ali and surrounding areas of North Waziristan.
Sources told that the first strike killed commander Abdul Sattar when his compound was pounded by the jets followed by the series of strikes on Uzbek, Turkmen, Tajik and Taliban hideouts.