ISLAMABAD: Concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the country, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan wants the government to unveil a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy and strategy before calling an all-party conference (APC) over the matter.
“Talks of an APC are meaningless until the government has a counter-terrorism policy to present before it,” Mr Khan said in a statement issued by the party’s central media office here on Sunday.
Mr Khan said the government seemed unable to formulate a viable and holistic counter-terrorism strategy. “In fact, the government seems least interested in giving this issue the top priority,” he remarked. The PTI chief reiterated that the country needed a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy “where we identify different types of terrorism impacting Pakistan and use politico-economic measures alongside security measures to counter these multiple types of terrorism on an emergency basis as governance is imploding and the state cannot bear the growing pressure”.
The security apparatus, he said, seemed overstretched in the absence of a holistic counter-terrorism policy with an under-equipped and under-trained police force being the greatest sufferer.
As a first step, Mr Khan said, Pakistan had to get out of the US war on terrorism which had allowed terrorists to misuse the narrative of Jihad against the Pakistani security forces.
By de-linking from the US war on terrorism, he said, the Pakistani state would deprive the terrorists of the narrative of Jihad and allow it to combat them within a more viable environment.
“While this is not the only policy component of an indigenous counter-terrorism strategy, it is a critical component, especially when it is accompanied by an immediate end to acceptance of drones,” he said.
Mr Khan said the illegality of the use of drones was now well-established internationally and a Peshawar High Court decision on the issue awaited implementation by the federal government.
Mr Khan said this would be the PTI’s first proposed step in the implementation of an effective counter-terrorism policy, especially in the context of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which had been hit the hardest by the terrorism arising out of the Pakistani state’s support for the US war on terrorism and covert support for drone attacks.
The ill-equipped police in KP have made immeasurable sacrifices in the frontline of fighting terrorists who have latest weaponry and even night-vision devices. “The province cannot bear the cost of such a disastrous policy any longer,” he added.
Mr Khan said the PTI was formulating a strategy to protest the continuing participation in the war on terrorism and against the drone strikes and “we will announce our line of action soon after the by-elections”.
Talks with Taliban
Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that talks with the Taliban should be an important component of the anti-terrorism strategy.
In a statement, he said if there was any external pressure on the government against talks with the Taliban, such pressure should be rejected.
He said all state institutions should give talks a chance and extend full support to it in an effort to resolve the issue with lesser sacrifices.