- Apex Committee okays up-gradation of NACTA, CTD and police with weapons, tech
- PM calls for national unity to take anti-terror fight to logical end
- Announces Rs2m for each martyr’s family, Rs0.5m for each injured of mosque blast
- Suggests probe, audit of Rs417b given to KP since 2010 for LEAs capacity-building
PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday declared that despite repeated terrorist attacks, not a single inch of the land of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was under the control of any terrorist group or individual that reflected strong writ of the government, called for rising above personal likes and dislikes and leaving the double standard politics to curb terrorism and extremism.
Addressing an apex committee meeting here at KP’s Governor House on Friday, PM Shehbaz said all political-religious parties’ leadership irrespective of their political, religious and linguistic ideologies should stand united to win the fight against terrorism.
“It’s time for forging national unity against the menace of terrorism and all the stakeholders should shun their differences and sit together to wipe out terrorism in its all forms and manifestation”, the prime minister underscored. He expressed his government’s strong resolve that the fight against terrorism would continue till its logical end and extermination.
The participants saluted the armed forces, Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, Counter-Terrorism Department, police and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for their unprecedented valour against terrorism, and paid tribute to the officers and soldiers who were martyred in the terror incidents.
The Apex Committee reiterated the resolve not to squander the sacrifices of the martyrs and successes achieved so far against terrorism.
The committee also reviewed the implementation of the National Action Plan and deliberated over the suggestions put forth for its improvement in accordance with contemporary needs.
The meeting also gave in-principle approval to the proposals for the up-gradation of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), CTD and police, and the provision of training, weapons, technology and other necessary equipment to them.
The meeting reviewed in detail the incidents of terrorism, particularly the attack on Police Lines and the situation that followed during which representatives of intelligence agencies briefed the committee on the overall security situation and operations against terrorists in the country.
The apex committee agreed that the centre and provinces would adopt a uniform strategy to counter terrorism and eliminate the internal facilitators of militants.
‘Solidarity with heirs of blast victims and people in general’
According to the statement issued by PMO, the apex committee’s meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, was held at Governor’s House in the wake of the deadly suicide blast inside mosque at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines and was also attended Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir.
The meeting agreed to abolish all the sources assisting the terrorists in the country and directed the authorities concerned to devise an effective strategy in this regard.
Adopting a zero-tolerance approach against all kinds of terrorism would be the national motto, while implementation of the decisions would be ensured by national consensus, the huddle decided, the statement added.
The meeting of the apex committee was attended by Interior Minister Rana Sanullah, Chief Ministers of four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Federal Ministers and national and political leadership except for PTI leadership.
KP IGP briefs participants
On the occasion, KP Inspector-General of Police Muazzam Jah Ansari briefed participants of the meeting regarding investigation into the Police Lines blast and the progress made so far. The IG Police shared details about the incident, routes the attacker used to reach the mosque, his links with terrorists network and the headway made so far to reach to the network.
Addressing an apex committee meeting, the prime minister said that undue criticism, propaganda and blames over the police lines’ mosque blast was highly condemnable. “We have to admit the facts behind the blast that had made the whole nation grieved and sadden.”
He said that it would be probed that how the terrorist sneaked into the mosque and carried out such a huge blast that claimed around 80 to 85 innocent worshipers and many others injured.
The Prime Minister said the federation and provinces should jointly fight out terrorism as after every incident in the past the federation was blamed for not cooperating with KP in that regard.
‘Probe and audit of Rs417b given to KP since 2010’
Shehbaz Sharif disclosed that Rs 417 billion were provided to KP since 2010 under the National Finance Commission Award that was supposed to be spent for capacity-building, infrastructure development and equipment for the counter-terrorism department and wondered where that huge amount was spent in KP. He suggested a complete probe and audit of the spending of such a huge amount in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said that a well-equipped counter-terrorism department (CTD) and a modern forensic lab were established in Punjab and that a forensic lab, safe city project and infrastructure for CTD could also be established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after receiving Rs417 billion. He said that peace could have been established in KP if one-fourth of the said amount was spent in the province.
‘Package for martyrs’ families’
The prime minister on this occasion announced Rs2 million for each martyr’s family and Rs0.5 million for each injured in the police lines’ mosque blast.
He said that the purpose of the convening of the Apex Committee meeting in Peshawar was to express solidarity with the bereaved families of the martyrs and injured and appraised all the stakeholders about the law and order situation in the province.
Referring to recent terrorist attacks on CTD Bannu and Police Lines Peshawar, Shehbaz Sharif said the whole nation was worried that the menace of terrorism, which was wiped out by the Nawaz Sharif government, had reemerged in KP, which he said was highly deplorable.
He said the successful operations of Zarb-e-Azab and Raddul Fasad had immensely helped in wiping out of terrorism from the province and lauded the sacrifices of security forces, government officials, people, civil society and civil armed forces for the protection of their country.
The premier strongly condemned social media speculations and propaganda in the wake of the police lines mosque blast, adding that the rumors of a drone attack and others allegations related to the blast were inappropriate. He clarified that it was a suicide attack.
The prime minister said the practice of criticism for the sake of criticism should be avoided and facts should not be distorted and supremacy of truth should prevail.
The prime minister said all the national political and religious parties’ leadership including the one who did not want to shake hands with him, were invited to today’s Apex Committee meeting and APC committee meeting to be held on February 7 in Islamabad.
‘Protection of life & property at every cost’
The Apex Committee Friday expressed determination to protect life and property of the people at every cost and make an example out of the terrorists who shed blood of Pakistanis.
The committee assured the nation that those who attacked innocent Pakistanis, would be punished and the government would come up to its expectations.
The meeting reviewed, in detail, the incidents of terrorism, particularly the suicide attack on the mosque in Police Lines Peshawar on January 30 and its aftermath.
The officials of the intelligence agencies briefed the participants about the overall security situation and the action taken against the terrorists.
The participants prayed for the elevation of ranks of martyrs in Jannah, grant of patience and fortitude to the bereaved families, and for early recovery of the injured.
While sympathizing with the affected families, the meeting assured that the blood of the martyrs would not go waste, and the government and the nation stood with the heirs of the martyred.
It was decided that a CTD headquarters would be built immediately in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, besides establishing a forensic laboratory like the one in the Punjab province.
Moreover, on the pattern of Lahore and Islamabad, a safe city project would be initiated in KP, and the capacity building of the police and CTD would be carried out, besides providing them with the latest equipment.
The meeting reviewed the mechanisms of border management control and immigration, besides deliberating over the processes of investigations against terrorists, prosecution and their conviction.
It was decided that all the state organs would work in complete cohesion and coordination, and with utmost dedication for the elimination of terrorism and the achievement of collective national goals. Necessary legislation would also be carried out in that regard.
The Apex Committee principally agreed to adopt a united approach and strategy by the Center and the federating units for the elimination of terrorism, and directed to formulate an effective strategy for the purpose.
The meeting decided to plug in all the sources of support to the terrorists within the country and instructed to carry out an effective screening for the purpose.
The committee decided that zero tolerance for terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations would be the national objective and that all the said decisions would be implemented through a national consensus.
The participants lauded the prime minister’s decision to call an All Parties Conference and expressed the hope that the national political leadership would sit together to forge a way forward for eradication of terrorism and take decisions through consensus.
They appealed to the Ulema and religious scholars to use the pulpit for elimination of terrorism. They should inform the public about the categorical announcements of ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ and guidelines of religious institutions that terror attacks were sinful, and against the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah, and that those who shed the blood of innocent people had nothing to do with Islam.
Later, collective Fateha was offered for eternal peace of the departed souls and speedy recovery of the injured in the police lines blast.
Earlier, the prime minister was received by KP Governor Ghulam Ali, Caretaker CM Azam Khan and officials of the KP government.