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PM says govt writ to be affirmed as cabinet okays security policy

February 25, 2014
A meeting of the federal cabinet. — File photo
A meeting of the federal cabinet. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: After the cabinet endorsed the country’s internal national security policy on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the session said that in order to ensure the safety and security of citizens, the government would establish its writ across the country under all circumstances, DawnNews reported.

He said the government had initiated the dialogue process with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with sincerity and made arrangements for the outlawed group’s negotiators to travel to Waziristan for holding consultations with militant leaders but by targeting innocent civilians, the TTP had rendered the process meaningless.

Establishing peace in the country is the ultimate goal, the prime minister said, adding that the state's writ would be established at all costs.

Earlier during the session, the federal cabinet ratified the internal security policy and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is expected to announce its details in Parliament tomorrow.

Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Sharif, the ministers consulted on the policy as well as on peace talks with the TTP.

The cabinet agreed that the TTP would have to announce an unconditional ceasefire, adding that the banned group now stood alone and the nation had united against terrorism.

Sources told DawnNews that in accordance with the policy, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) would be the focal organisation for national security, adding that the heads of the armed forces would be among members of Nacta.

The cabinet agreed that all decisions pertaining to anti-terror measures would be taken at the highest levels of authority.

The cabinet gave its nod on the policy following a briefing on it by Chaudhry Nisar who also took the ministers into confidence over the situation in relation to peace talks and targeted operations.

The policy also entails the formation of a joint intelligence directorate to make the exchange of information more effective on federal and provincial levels.

Moreover, the policy document notes that the total strength of 33 national security organisations, including the police and other civil armed forces, both at the federal as well as the provincial level, exceeded 600,000, which is more than the sixth largest standing army of the world i.e. Pakistan.

Snippets from the 86-page document also say Pakistan is the country most affected by terrorism in the world after Iraq, but if the severity of the incidents is considered, it even surpasses the Middle Eastern nation.

The draft of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2013-2018 describes the scenario as dangerous, posing an existential threat to the integrity and sovereignty of the state.

“From 2001 to 2013, there were 13,721 incidents in Pakistan which is marginally less than Iraq. From 2001 to 2005, there were 523 terrorist incidents in Pakistan but from 2007 to November 2013, the total number of incidents has risen to 13,198.”

The document, which is being billed as the country’s first internal security policy, also says that from 2001 to November 2013, 48,994 people were killed in the country including 5,272 personnel of the law-enforcement agencies, a large number of them – 17,642 – having been killed in just three years from 2011 to 2013 including 2,114 personnel of the law-enforcement agencies.