Hours after a suspected Taliban suicide bomber detonated his vehicle in Peshawar killing 49 people, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday said the government had "no option" but to strike back on the militant stronghold of South Waziristan.
"We have no other option but to carry out an operation in south Waziristan," the Interior Minister told a private television channel after the attack.
In an another major development, Malik announced Pakistani investigators have arrested the handler of the suicide bomber who struck the office of the UN food agency in the federal capital earlier this week, killing 5 people.
"The main handler has been arrested and we have information about who planned the attack and gave the instructions," Malik told reporters outside the Parliament.
Elaborating on the new offencive, Malik said "All routes led to South Waziristan. We will have to proceed."
He is the first civilian leader to give a pointer that a massive security force campaign is in the offing in Wazirstan which could take off any moment.
Pakistan army has massed troops and armour around South Waziristan and enforced a total blockade of the region for the past couple of months. The military has carried out a number of air strikes on the region and sent probing expeditionary army missions.