ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) has vowed to respond to the resurgent terrorist threat with “full force” and safeguard the national interest but deferred crucial decisions for dealing with the situation until Monday.

“The meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) will continue on Monday … in which further decisions will be taken in the light of the proposals,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement after a meeting on Friday, the first day of deliberations.

The meeting was convened to discuss the aggravating security situation because of growing number of terrorist attacks, border clashes with the Afghan Taliban, and the economic meltdown.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the meeting, attended by key federal ministers, services chiefs and heads of intelligence agencies.

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The NSC was convened after a meeting between the prime minister and Army Chief Gen Asim Munir on Thursday. Earlier, a two-day corps commanders conference was held at the General Headquarters on Tuesday and Wednesday in which the military top brass resolved to “fight against terrorists without any distinction and eliminate this menace”.

It is somewhat unlikely for an NSC meeting to be extended for a second day, as its agenda is normally finished in one sitting. Some analysts even found it perplexing that the meeting had been adjourned for two days despite the urgency of the issue.

A political source claimed that Prime Minister Sharif had asked for some time to consult some of the coalition allies that were not represented in the NSC, especially the JUI-F and the parties from Balochistan.

The prime minister held consultations with Pakistan Peoples Party leaders before the NSC meeting. Along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, he met with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.

The PMO said participants of the NSC meeting were briefed by the intelligence agencies about the security situation, the factors that contributed to a surge in terrorist incidents, and the measures to deal with them.

Ms Khar briefed the participants on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban administration, whereas Mr Dar briefed them about the economic situation.

According to the media statement, there was a consensus among the participants that there would be no compromise on issues pertaining to national interest and that no one would be allowed to undermine national security.

“The basic interests of Pakistan’s survival, security and development will be protected with great courage, consistency and steadfastness,” they resolved, stressing that terrorists were the country’s enemies.

The participants recalled that the country was united on one narrative against terrorism and terrorists and warned that those who threaten peace in the country would be responded to with “full force”.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2022

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