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Counter-terrorism policy: PM urges better coordination of agencies

Updated July 12, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a session at the Ministry of Interior on July 12, 2013.—APP Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a session at the Ministry of Interior on July 12, 2013.—APP Photo

ISLAMABAD: In an effort to devise an effective counter-terrorism policy in the country, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday all civilian and military agencies to improve coordination to ensure the national interest.

Attending a briefing at the Pakistan Secretariat in Islamabad on Friday, Sharif directed the interior ministry to finalise an anti-terrorism and anti-extremism policy in consultation with all provinces on a fast-track basis, and to prepare a well thought out and workable operational plan to achieve the desired targets.

The prime minister has reportedly appointed the interior minister as the focal person for coordination between the civilian and military intelligence agencies.

“We have to perform and failure is not an option at all,” he said, emphasising the need to improve coordination and intelligence-sharing.

Restoration of peace and elimination of terrorism should be our top most priority, so the security agencies have to come up with hard intelligence to prevent terror attacks, he said.

Prime Minister Sharif said that specialised anti-terror, anti-crime and watch-and-ward law enforcement forces need to be raised to overcome challenges faced by the country.

Sharif also assured that adequate funds would be provided to the law enforcement agencies to facilitate them in their professional duties. He, however, demanded that they must deliver to the expectations of the people and the government.

The prime minister’s directives follow a visit to the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on Thursday. Officials said the visit to the HQ was primarily meant for consultations on the national security strategy being prepared by the government.

Lack of coordination between civilian and military intelligence outfits was seen as one of the major reasons behind counter-terror failures in the Abbottabad Commission report for the May 2, 2011 US forces raid which led to Osama bin Laden’s death.

Although there was no official statement on Sharif’s visit either by the PM Office or the military, media reports said the premier got a five-hour briefing at the ISI HQ. The PM reportedly also directed intelligence agencies to prevent the recurrence of Nanga Parbat-like incidents when nine foreign tourists were gunned down by armed militants.

In his meeting today, Sharif reiterated that it was his government’s top priority to trace the killers of Chinese and other foreign mountaineers. Sharif also urged the interior ministry to take all provinces on board, and to extend all out support provincial governments to fight anti-state and terrorist elements.

The Interior Secretary apprised the premier about the overall security paradigm and the steps taken by the Interior Division to strengthen liaison between the provinces.

The prime minister further stressed that efforts should be made to stop the influx of aliens into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and other parts of the country.

The prime minister paid tribute to victims of terrorism, security forces and the civilian law enforcement agencies for their sacrifices in the war against terror.

“I salute those mothers and daughters of Hazara community who raised their voice to denounce terror killings in Quetta” he said.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Advisor on National Security, Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Political Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. Asif Kirmani and senior government officials.