KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said terrorism was a global problem and terrorists had no boundaries, no nationality and no religion and their main objective was to act against humanity.
“Now, the international community as a whole has united against terrorism and have fought successful battles against them, but even today the threat to innocent lives exists. Our strategy to combat terrorism should be multidimensional — from educating our new generation about the fruits of social values, coexistence and interfaith harmony and the society that believes in pluralism,” he said while speaking at the launching ceremony of Pakistan’s Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT), Sindh, at a hotel.
The programme was attended by EU Ambassador-designate to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara and others.
CM Shah said terrorism knew no international boundaries.
“Terrorism emerges in a region and leaves adverse effects around the world,” he said, adding, “it negatively impacts human life, health, properties, peace and stability.”
Sets up district development committees comprising elected representatives to monitor ongoing schemes
He said the terrorists were getting discouraged in Pakistan due to the resolve and resilience of the Pakistani people. “The challenges warrant a focused joint response by the Pakistani law enforcement agencies and civil society,” he said.
Mr Shah said as part of Pakistan’s global commitment for ensuring peace and security, the government has devised a National Action Plan in close partnership with all federal and provincial stakeholders.
“Approved by parliament, the National Action Plan combines foreign and domestic policy initiatives aimed to detect, pursue and prosecute terrorist organisations while providing protection to the vulnerable across the country.”
He said NAP was considered as a well-structured and coordinated state response against terrorism, which had received unprecedented levels of support and cooperation across the country’s political spectrum.
‘Rule of Law Roadmap’
“Sindh has developed a Rule of Law Roadmap under which preventing, and countering terrorism is an important pillar,” he said.
He thanked the dedicated law enforcement personnel, civil society and most importantly Pakistani people, adding that the operations Zarb-i-Azb (that focused on terrorism) and Raddul Fasaad (that was against violent extremism) had started bearing fruit.
“These strategic initiatives by the government of Pakistan are aimed at ensuring stability and better future, while the country stands on the road to economic growth and development through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he said.
He added these comprehensive counterterrorism initiatives of Pakistan to effectively eliminate terrorism and extremism were being well-recognised globally.
He said Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres during his recent visit to Pakistan lauded the country’s efforts and its journey from terrorism to tourism and called for recognising and appreciating those efforts.
The chief minister thanked all law enforcement agencies for their dedication and sacrifices for turning the tide from terrorism to tourism.
He reaffirmed the political will of his government for working together with the national and international partners to effectively prevent and counter terrorism.
“We look forward to continuing with the same resolve and resilience, with its envisaged contributory effects on counterterrorism in the region and beyond,” he said, adding, “we are closely interacting with the European Union, United Nations and other international partners, in pursuance of our common goals and objectives.”
Mr Shah said the PACT project which “we have launched today would contribute towards a paradigm shift and deliver support to all stakeholders in Sindh, including police, prosecution and judiciary while improving information sharing with federal entities”.
He thanked Ambassador Kaminara for EU’s financial support in making that project possible and to UNODC for their hard work in bringing the project together in consultation with the ministry of foreign affairs and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta).
“We, on our part, look forward to further strengthen our response to effectively overcome the current and emerging threats posed by terrorism, through this project,” he said.
Amb Kaminara, meanwhile, called on CM Shah at the CM House.
During the meeting they discussed various issues, including human rights, investment opportunities in Sindh and the provincial government’s efforts to reduce poverty in rural areas.
The chief minister said to conserve irrigation water his government had started canal lining to ensure water could reach tail-end areas.
“Proper distribution of water and support to growers, particularly the small ones would help improve the rural economy,” he said.
Mr Shah said his government had done a good job in installation of renewable energy projects. “We have a vast wind corridor with a potential of 50,000MW power generation but we are hardly generating 1,100MW,” he said.
The chief minister said Sindh government had made necessary legislation to protect human rights.
“We have enacted prohibition of child marriage and fixed the minimum age for marriage at 18 and we have also made a law to stop forced conversion in which nobody could be forced to change the religion,” he said.
The ambassador appreciated the government’s efforts and assured EU’s support in promotion of education, particularly of girls and health facilities in the province.
District development committees
Meanwhile, the CM constituted district development committees (DDCs) to ensure the representatives concerned could coordinate with executing agencies of development schemes for their timely completion by ensuring quality of work.
He took this decision while reviewing progress of 347 ongoing development schemes worth Rs17.18 billion in Sukkur, Khairpur and Ghotki districts.
Provincial ministers and advisers Nisar Khuhro, Saeed Ghani, Shabbir Bijarani, Nasir Shah, Sohail Siyal and Awais Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and others attended the meeting.
The chief minister said during review of the ongoing development schemes, he had found that there was a lack of ownership of the development works, thus work on those schemes was sluggish.
“I have decided to constitute district development committees comprising elected representatives for developing a close coordination with the executing agencies/concerned departments so that ongoing schemes can be completed in time,” he said.
The chief secretary would notify the committees in a few days.
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2020