Governor Kundi calls for cabinet meetings on Operation Azm-i-Istehkam to be held in terrorism hot zones in KP

Published June 24, 2024
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Faisal Karim Kundi speaks to media on June 24. — DawnNewsTV
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Faisal Karim Kundi speaks to media on June 24. — DawnNewsTV

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Faisal Karim Kundi on Monday suggested that the federal government hold meetings on counterterrorism with the KP assembly in terrorism hotzones across the province instead of Islamabad.

The federal government on Saturday approved a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism campaign, Operation Azm-i-Istehkam, that symbolised the national resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism from the country.

The campaign was launched with the consensus of all stakeholders, including the provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, during a meeting of the Central Apex Committee on the National Action Plan (NAP), chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“Azm-i-Istehkam will integrate and synergise multiple lines of effort to combat the menaces of extremism and terrorism in a comprehensive and decisive manner,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a press release.

However, in a parliament session marred by ruckus on Sunday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif criticised the opposition for not supporting the newly announced counterterrorism operation as the latter demanded that Parliament be taken into confidence before any offensive against militancy was launched.

Speaking to the media outside Parliament House in Islamabad the same day, PTI MNA Gohar Khan had said, “It is our demand […] that if there is any operation — whether intelligence-based or full-fledged or in certain districts or villages or tehsils — it is necessary to take this Parliament into confidence.”

He had made the remarks while the National Assembly was in session, saying that the opposition wanted to speak on a point of order that the “military leadership, as has been done in the past, give an in-camera briefing and detail the situation”.

However, he alleged, that lawmakers from his party were denied the chance to speak and therefore staged a walkout in protest.

Talking to reporters today, KP Governor Kundi said Operation Azm-i-Istehkam was launched following meetings between the federal government and all stakeholders, including the provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. “They have all committed and we stand with them and the federal government,” Kundi said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Faisal Karim Kundi speaks to media on June 24. — DawnNewsTV

He noted that despite opposition lawmakers not being in favour, KP Chief Minister and PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur stood with the decision to launch the operation. “He did not walk out, nor did he give any negative statements afterwards,” Kundi said.

Regarding meetings on security and law and order, Kundi said, “I suggested that the KP assembly members be taken into confidence. I also suggested that special meetings be held with the federal cabinet and apex committee, where there are briefings on law and order.

“Moreover, these meetings should be held in places where terrorism is rampant, as opposed to an air-conditioned room in Islamabad. Have meetings in Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat and elsewhere in KP,” he said.

Government to take all parties in confidence on Operation Azm-i-Istehkam: defence minister

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Sunday said that the government had decided to take all parties in confidence on Operation Azm-i-Istehkam.

In an interview on Dawn News programme Doosra Rukh yesterday, Khawaja Asif said that the decision to conduct the operation was not finalised and that the matter would be brought up for debate in Parliament’s in-camera session.

Asif said that during the NAP meeting, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur participated in the discussion regarding the operation and the decision taken was with consensus.

“He presented the points that he had prepared and after that, a consensus was reached,” he said.

He said the outcome of the cabinet meeting on Saturday was not final as the decision would go “through the process”.

“It will go through the cabinet then it will be presented in the House and the House would be briefed,” he said.

“There is precedence for it […] operations have taken place during PTI’s government and Nawaz’s government,” he said, adding that he did not understand what problem the opposition had with the operation.

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