PESHAWAR: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Shareef said Tuesday that the state is entering the most difficult phase of the military operation, while speaking at a special provincial Apex committee meeting held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The meeting laid special focus on the return of Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs), with further discussion on the current progress of ongoing military operations and intelligence-based operations (IBO) being conducted across the urban centers of the country.

“We are in the most difficult phase of the operation after successfully evicting terrorists from their sanctuaries and restoring the writ of the state,” said the army chief.

He elaborated that physically rebuilding the war-damaged areas, resettling of TDPs and eventually establishing an administrative system that focuses on the needs and aspirations of the people will be the most demanding task.

General Raheel Sharif on the occasion also paid rich tribute to the resilience and sacrifices rendered by the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and KP.

The meeting was attended the governor of KP, chief minister of KP, Peshawar corps commander along with senior officials from KP and Fata.

Fata has been severely affected by unrest and military operations over the past decade. Last year, the number of families displaced by fighting from different tribal areas was estimated at 260,000.

Military operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched by the Pakistan Army on June 15, 2014 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi's international airport which led to the failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.