Zardari, Gilani vow to launch military offensive in South Waziristan

     Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have vowed to launch a full-scale military offensive against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South Waziristan. Their decision comes in the wake of the recent reports claiming that the Pakistan Army is all set to launch a ground offensive in the Taliban stronghold, as it has stationed the required helicopters at bases in the area. According to the Daily Times, Gilani and Zardari met over lunch on Monday to discuss various issues, including the military offensive. Sources said the two leaders held discussions on the situation in the Tribal Areas, and talked about FATA parliamentarians' reservations over the proposed military offensive. Gilani reportedly briefed Zardari about the demands put forward by coalition partner Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). Recently, JUI-F leader Maulana Fazl had offered to 'mediate' between the government and the Taliban. The leaders also vowed to take all political parties in confidence before launching the offensive. For three months, the Pakistan Army has been charting out plans, holding indepth deliberations and studying past operations that failed miserably, a recent report had said. The paper quoted a military official as saying that they are expecting stiff resistance in Waziristan, which has also become a key base for Al Qaeda. "This is where we will be fighting the toughest of all battles. If we don't take the battle to them, they will bring the battle to us," the official had said.

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