Pakistan protestors rally in opposition to counterterrorism operation News
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Pakistan protestors rally in opposition to counterterrorism operation

Protestors took to the streets of Pakistan’s Swat district Friday in response to proposed military plans by the government. Those rallying in opposition called for an end to the planned counterterrorism operation that is set to roll out in the north-west region .

The protest, organised by Ulasi Passon (Public Revolution) and Orakzai Peace Movement, saw thousands of citizens marching between the areas of Khwazakhela and Kabal to condemn the military plans, with participants including political workers, rights activists, and students. Individuals were seen holding white flags and signs that read “We want peace” and “We hate governmented terrorism.” Protestors also participated in chants of “chaos: we don’t accept it,” and “bomb blasts: we don’t accept it, “referencing the proposed counterterrorism Azm-i-Istehkam military operation.

The concerned military plans were approved in June by Pakistan’s government, who stated the plans are aimed at tackling extremist violence and terrorism in the area. Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif’s office has further stated that this would not be a full-scale military campaign that could lead to the displacement of citizens.

However, those in this region have long opposed the government’s military plans here, as residents believe that such operations have caused disruption to the people and their businesses in the past, and therefore will continue to do so. It is unclear what the impact of these rallies will be as the plans have yet to begin in the region, however, on July 5, Pakistani military reiterated support for the operation, which they stated is aimed at “counter terrorism and growth.”