LAHORE: The Punjab Apex Committee, during a meeting here on Sunday, decided to expand the scope of operation Raddul Fasaad.

The huddle, which lasted more than four hours, was briefed by different security agencies on the result and impact of the operations they had conducted jointly and separately last week.

The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, was told that over 100 suspects had been taken into custody in just one day (Sunday) from different parts of the province.

The committee, in its previous meeting on Feb 19, had decided to call in Rangers in Punjab to assist the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and police in arresting terrorists and extremists, with the focus of the action on south Punjab.

On Sunday, it decided to widen the scope of the paramilitary force’s operations to other areas of the province.

And in line with this decision, Rangers set up checkposts on two motorways — M-I and M-II.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, media wing of the military, says the checkposts have been set up to improve monitoring of suspected terrorists.

Rangers have also made public its contact numbers so that citizens could report any suspicious activity.

Though a press release issued after the meeting did not say anything about the holding of the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore, a participant said that the committee had authorised the prime minister to make a final decision on the cricket match in which players from foreign countries would also take part.

Punjab Information Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman asked the Pakistan Cricket Board to continue making arrangements for the PSL final as security agencies had been asked to give clearance for the cricket match.

According to the press release, the meeting reviewed ongoing counterterrorism operations by civil and military law enforcement agencies, resolved to root out terrorism, extremism and sectarianism from the province and expressed satisfaction over the ongoing operation against terrorists, their facilitators and financial supporters.

The meeting decided to expand the scope of joint operations of Rangers, CTD and police and speedily intensify action against terrorists under Raddul Fasaad.

It decided to provide adequate security to mosques, imambargahs and other places of worship across the province.

The committee resolved to take indiscriminate action against terrorists and their facilitators, eliminate the mindset supporting militancy, extremism and fundamentalism and root out the networks of terrorists and their facilitators.

It stressed the need for enhancing cooperation with other provinces in this regard.

Speaking at the meeting, the chief minister said, “We will not let terrorists and their facilitators become successful in their evil intentions.”

He said that the civil and military leadership were moving forward against terrorism with complete unity. “We are on the same page in this war against terrorism which will continue till elimination of the last terrorist.”

Those who attended the meeting included National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua, Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Sadiq Ali, Punjab Minister for Counter-Terrorism Mohammad Ayub, Punjab Rangers Director General Maj Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat, General Officer Comman­ding of 10 Division Maj Gen Sardar Tariq Aman, Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed, Ins­pector General Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera and Interior Secretary Azam Sulaiman.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2017

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