ISLAMABAD, June 20: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has ordered withdrawal of Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel from security squads of federal ministers and the so-called VIPs.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the minister announced a ban on new arms licences and display of weapons.
He stressed the need for better coordination among provinces to defeat terrorism and announced the setting up of separate task forces on national security and for missing persons.
The minister, however, skipped some important questions raised by reporters regarding talks between the US government and Afghan Taliban, missing persons and their number and military operations in some tribal areas.
The press conference followed Chaudhry Nisar’s first meeting with the heads of security and intelligence agencies to chalk out a line of action to combat terrorism.
“Except the president, prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan no one will be given Rangers and FC personnel,” he said, adding that Rangers and FC personnel were not watchmen but members of fighting forces.
He said not even a federal minister would get such security. But, he added, their security would be looked after by police personnel.
“First of all I will withdraw 20 Rangers given to me for my security,” the minister said. Chaudhry Nisar said special security was being provided to the VIPs who could afford private security guards. “This trend must end now”.
He announced a complete ban on issuance of arms licences and display of arms, and said “only official security personnel will be allowed to display their arms”. Now the ban on issuing arms licences would be lifted once it was decided by the parliament, he added.
The minister said a new national security policy would be announced soon after reviewing recommendations of all stakeholders, including civil armed forces and armed forces with the basic objective of improving coordination among them as well as with intelligence agencies.
“I have asked heads of all security forces and intelligence agencies to send me their recommendations within two days so that a new policy can be formulated,” he said.
Chaudhry Nisar said he would continue to interact with armed forces because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had formed a committee for the purpose.
He said there was a lack of coordination among security agencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Karachi. “The purpose of this policy is to enhance coordination and give a clear channel of command for quick response among the federal and provincial governments in case of any mishap.”
The minister said a strict accountability system would be in place for reviewing security failures. “I have formed a joint investigation team on recent terrorist attacks in Quetta and its findings will be shared with the parliament and the nation,” he said.
Talking to reporters during a visit to Taxila in the morning, Chaudhry Nisar spoke about security situation in Balochistan.
About US-Taliban talks, he said: “If US can initiate dialogue with his rivals then why not Pakistan.”
Referring to the situation in Balochistan, he said peace in the province and elsewhere could not be achieved through the barrel of gun but dialogue. “The government will utilise all available resources to restore peace in the troubled areas and provide security to the people.”