ISLAMABAD: The government is considering to start a national de-radicalisation programme to combat rising fundamentalism and extremism in the country.
A statement issued after a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet held here on Wednesday said: “It was decided in the committee that special attention shall be given to a de-radicalisation programme to motivate youth to engage and isolate them from militancy and terrorism and bring them back to peaceful living.”
The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“We need to clearly identify the threat posed by terrorism, including the underlying factors such as ideological, motivational, funding, weapon supply, training and organisational support for terrorist groups and those aiding and abetting the terrorists,” he said.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, services chiefs and senior officers.
It also took a number of other decisions, like strengthening coordination between provinces and the federal government on security issues and establishment of a National Crime Database, in addition to deliberating on loopholes in the criminal justice system and various incidents of terrorism, but the major decision appeared to be the de-radicalisation programme.
The army, which has already started one such programme in Swat, had been pushing for its replication at the national level.
Law-enforcement agencies have frequently blamed flaws in the criminal justice system for preventing successful prosecution of terror suspects.
The last meeting of the committee held on May 25 in the aftermath of the attack on PNS Mehran base in Karachi had decided that the forum would meet more frequently to take decisions on matters concerning security and national defence.
Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had said at a ceremony held last month to showcase the army’s re-radicalisation effort: “We have taken the first step here in Swat by initiating a de-radicalisation programme, it needs support and initiative of the society, intellectuals and policy-makers to take the lead and put into effect a counter-radicalisation construct, not only to sustain the de-radicalisation effort, but also to assure a free and progressive future for Pakistan.”
His Independence Day speech at the PMA Kakul also appeared tailored to dispel some of the extremist propaganda by reaffirming his force’s commitment to Islam and the ideology of Pakistan.