Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet.—APP Photo
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership has decided to reconstitute the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) into the Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) to focus on policies affecting national security.
The decision was taken Thursday during a meeting of the DCC – the first such meeting held since the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz government came to power.
It was decided that the CCNS will be chaired by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and would include the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior and Finance, and the top military leadership including the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chiefs of Staff of Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force.
“The Committee will focus on the national security agenda with the aim to formulate a national security policy that will become the guiding framework for its subsidiary policies – defence policy, foreign policy, internal security policy, and other policies affecting national security,” said a statement issued from the PM House.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who chaired the much-awaited meeting, said Pakistan was facing formidable challenges domestically while far-reaching developments were taking place in the region. He said the DCC provided the platform to deliberate on these issues and craft an appropriate response.
According to DawnNews, the committee decided that peace negotiations would be held only if militants agree to disarm otherwise force would be used against them.
The DCC received a briefing on the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and took note of continued violations of the ceasefire agreement with India, according to the statement issued by the PM House.
The committee condemned the “unprovoked firing” along the LoC that killed a Pakistan Army captain, but strongly emphasised that the ceasefire be maintained in letter and spirit.
“All military and diplomatic channels should be used to prevent ceasefire violations,” it said, adding that Pakistan would continue to seek dialogue and resolution of outstanding issues with India in a peaceful manner.
During the meeting, presentations were made by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Secretary and Director General (Military Operations) on matters relating to national security.
The committee also discussed in detail the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan will fully support international community’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Pakistan will also work to comprehensively upgrade its bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all dimensions,” the statement said.
The meeting was attended by the top military leadership, including Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Khalid Shamim Wynne, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff, as well as the ministers for Finance, Information and Interior, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs.