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Apex committee resolves to hold dialogue with Afghanistan to counter terrorism

Apex committee resolves to hold dialogue with Afghanistan to counter terrorism

Pakistan

Apex committee resolves to hold dialogue with Afghanistan to counter terrorism

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The apex committee huddle on Friday vowed to conduct intelligence-based operations and holding unfiltered talks with Afghanistan to tackle the fresh wave of terrorism that had engulfed the country.

The meeting had been called at the KP Governor House days after a suicide bomber targeted worshippers in a mosque of the Peshawar Police Lines – one of the highly-fortified zones – killing over 100 people and injuring more than 200 others. It was attended by KP's caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Punjab's interim CM Mohsin Naqvi, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, and officials of intelligence agencies.

Sources told that the committee decided to send a diplomatic mission to Afghanistan to hold talks with the Taliban-led Afghanistan administration. “The mission will produce evidence of terrorism activities being conducted by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Pakistan before the Afghan administration”, sources added.

The meeting also reviewed the possibility of revitalizing military courts and the proposal of reactivation of the courts would be deliberated at all parties conference (APC) called by the PM on Feb 7. The political administration vowed to stand by the armed forces through their struggle to eradicate terrorism.

Know More: Imran Khan refuses to attend APC, claims Asad Umar

The session approved the proposals of upgrading police, couter-terrorism department (CTD), and National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). Along with that, the establishment of CTD headquarter, a forensic lab, a safe city project and expansion of horizon of the CTD in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were also given assent. Apart from that, border management control and immigration system were also taken into account beside reviewing prosecuting and penalizing the terrorists.

The premier called for national unity by setting aside differences to tackle the menace of terrorism as the country recently witnessed one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar amid new wave of terrorism sparked since November last.

Watch: CCTV footage of suspected Peshawar suicide bomber surfaced  

Expressing solidarity with the families of the victims of the Jan 30 suicide blast in Peshawar, the premier said every stakeholder should play its role to eradicate the menace of terrorism. Mr Sharif said political, social and religious leadership was united for eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country, adding: “We will continue to fight until eradication of terrorism in the country”.

Describing the Peshawar attack as the most horrific incident after the APS tragedy, he raised concerns over the resurgence of terrorism as it had been weeded out a few years back. He said several terror incidents were reported in the last few months in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “The whole nation is in shock,” he remarked. 

The premier also called into question the use of Rs417 billion funding provided to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the last 10 years under the National Finance Commission Award to maintain security. He said the KP, where the PTI has been ruling since 2013, could have established a forensic lab and the Safe City Project. “There had been peace in the province if the KP government would have spent even half of the provided funds,” he commented.

The premier admitted security lapse in the Peshawar incident but, at the same time, dispelled rumours that the mosque was targeted in a drone attack. He rejected such allegation as baseless and asked people to avoid such an inappropriate behaviour.

Read More: Peshawar blast - scars too deep to heal

He asked the nation to put up a united front against terrorism by setting aside the differences, adding that all constitutional institutions should play a role to bring unity in the country. The premier vowed to provide assistance to the northwestern province to boost strength against terrorism. He said he had convened an All Parties Conference (APC) on Feb 7 to discuss ways to overcome the current national challenges. He mentioned that invitation had also been extended to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to attend the conference. 

In an indirect criticism of the PTI, he said the terrorists were allowed to settle here but they (PTI leaders) were not ready to work with the government for the sake of the country’s future. 

In the key huddle, the premier also touched on the topic of the government’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation which is visiting Pakistan for the ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme. Mr Sharif revealed that the delegation of the global lender was giving a tough time to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team as its conditions are beyond the imagination. 

Saying Pakistan was facing tough economic challenges, he said there was no other option except implementing the conditions of the IMF to revive the loan programme.

On the occasion, PM Shehbaz also announced compensation for the victims of the Peshawar blast. He announced Rs2 million compensation for each family of the martyred and Rs500,000 for each injured person.