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Cabinet approves draft to form new counter-terrorism body

November 28, 2012

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to establish a new counter terrorism body aimed at better coordinating efforts to defeat Taliban and al Qaeda-linked violence, a minister said.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the main objective was to defeat terrorism, but he provided no details on exactly how the new organisation would help.

“The cabinet today approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill the need for which has been felt for a long time,” Kaira told reporters after a regular cabinet meeting.

To come into effect the bill needs to be approved by parliament and signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Kaira said the new authority would “devise policies and improve coordination among provincial governments and intelligence agencies” as well as “research and devise long-term policies to defeat” the terrorist mindset.

“The authority may suggest changes in curriculum, drama and films and it can also suggest introducing modern education in madrassas,” Kaira said.

Previous attempts to reform religious seminaries, considered by many as nurseries for recruits to the Taliban and other extremist organisations, have born little fruit.

At least 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan, according to the government.

Suicide attacks, roadside bombings and shootings are a near day-to-day reality, particularly in parts of the northwest near the Afghan border.