ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Saturday that action had been launched against the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), its supporters and sympathisers
Speaking at a press conference, he said it had been decided in the National Action Plan that TTP operatives, their supporters, masterminds and financiers would be identified across the country. The federal intelligence agencies would cooperate with provinces to accomplish the task, he added.
Chaudhry Nisar said there were around 60 banned outfits, but all were not involved in terrorism. Some were operating under new names and some quietly operating with the same old names, he added.
The minister said funds of banned organisations would be blocked and legal action would be initiated against them. If they remain adamant, their cases would also be referred to military courts.
He said the banned outfits would not be allowed to collect donations and sacrificial hides and their bank accounts would be seized. They would also not be allowed to use social media for anti-state propaganda, he added.
Chaudhry Nisar said over 100 terrorists had been killed in over 400 intelligence-based operations across the country during the past three months. Over 250 had been arrested and investigation was in progress.
He said most religious seminaries had nothing to do with terrorism, but some of them were serving as safe havens for terrorists or providing support to them in one way or the other.
He said action would be taken against only those seminaries against which concrete evidence was available and the evidence would also be shared with their umbrella bodies.
“A meeting of these organisations will be convened in Islamabad soon,” he said.
The minister said the government had requested four countries to send donations to religious groups and parties and madressahs through official channels in order to block flow of money to terrorists.
A combing operation in all provinces would also be started to identify people who “are where they are not supposed to be”. Those Afghan refugees who had left their camps and moved to settled areas would be pinpointed and taken back to the camps. He said most of them were peaceful, but if they were found involved in terrorism they would not be spared.
MILITARY COURTS: The minister said military courts would not be used against politicians, religious seminaries, businessmen, journalists or common citizens. He said the establishment of military courts was not in any manner an expression of lack of confidence in the existing judicial system.
He said it was not necessary that all those tried by military courts would be hanged. “They will function under the law.”
Chaudhry Nisar recalled that military tribunals had been established in the United States after 9/11 with the approval of the supreme court.
“Police will produce an accused before military courts under a well-defined procedure. These courts will also try army personnel,” the minister said in reply to a question.
He asked the provincial governments to improve the law and order situation in their jurisdictions or hand over the responsibility to the federation.
He said the Peshawar incident was not an intelligence failure because information about a possible attack had been provided to the province three months before the tragedy and in the last two communications even the Army Public School had been named.
The interior minister said intelligence reports about D. I. Khan jailbreak had also been sent to the province well in advance and the last report was sent on the night before the incident took place. Likewise, alerts about Karachi airport and Wagah border attacks had also been sent in time, he said.
He said the provinces had a key role to play in the National Action Plan. Committees headed by the chief ministers, having representation of the corps commander and provincial head of ISI, MI and IB, had been proposed with a mandatory requirement of meeting once a week.
He lamented that some provinces were averse to holding meeting of the committees.
Chaudhry Nisar said when a province requisitioned civil armed forces for a specific period they were placed under its control. It was not appropriate to blame the federal government or the interior ministry for an act of omission on the part of a province, he said.
The minister said he had proposed an undeclared national security emergency for two years. It would lead to progress and prosperity and bring improvement in health, education and other vital sectors, he added.
He said every citizen would have to play an active role to compliment the army’s efforts to root out terrorism. A national helpline had been launched and any information on a possible terrorist act or a suspicious activity should be reported on 1717. The information would swiftly be passed on to the respective province, he said.
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2015