Islamabad: The US has given Pakistan a deadline till July to launch a military offensive in the restive North Waziristan tribal region for capturing five most wanted al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Ilyas Kashmiri.
Pakistani security forces have been asked to capture al-Zawahiri, Omar, Kashmiri, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Atia Abdur Rehman either in a unilateral or joint military action within the deadline till July -- the month when NATO and allied forces will begin withdrawing from neighbouring Afghanistan.
The US demand has set alarm bells ringing in Pakistani civil and military circles, The News daily reported on Wednesday quoting unnamed sources.
Pakistan`s security forces had so far shown reluctance in launching a military offensive in North Waziristan despite sustained pressure from the US to do so.
The Haqqani militant network, based in North Waziristan, "had not been any threat to Pakistan" and has served as "a vital contact between the Pakistani intelligence agencies and the Afghan Taliban," the report said.
Another factor for the Pakistani military`s reluctance to move into North Waziristan is the presence of "some very important pro-government" militant factions, including those led by Mullah Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar.
These groups have "helped the Pakistani security forces keep the anti-government tribal fighters, including the Wazirs, at bay", the report said.