KARACHI MQM Chief Altaf Hussain has appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, members of Federal Cabinet, institutions of national security and chiefs of armed forces to immediately formulate a national counter-terrorism policy and establish a permanent institution to combat terrorism. In his statement issued on Sunday, Altaf said that the ongoing acts of terrorism in the country have claimed precious lives of innocent citizens and security personnel - and even innocent children are being targeted. According to him, at present the country does not appear to have a firm and coherent national policy or an institution to combat terrorism. While national organisations have formulated their respective policies about education, health, trade, economic and social reforms as well as for meeting with natural disasters and calamities in the form of National Disaster Management Policy, there was no institution to check terrorism, he maintained. It is unfortunate that everyday anti-State elements are committing acts of terrorism throughout the country, claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians, officers and personnel of law-enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies and armed forces, but deplorably we dont have a clear policy and institution to deal with such acts of terrorism, he said, stressing that the need of the time demands formulation of national counter-terrorism policy and establishment of a permanent institution for the prevention of terrorism. He recommended that besides dealing with anti-State elements, the government should also focus on reducing poverty, promotion of education, provision of basic health facilities, employment and good governance, stressing that absence of such steps lead to emergence of religious extremists and terrorists. The personnel of armed forces and other law-enforcement agencies are dedicatedly performing their duties to counter terrorism and sacrificing their lives but it is now essential that a policy be formulated to tackle terrorism and encourage participation of public representatives from all walks of life in anti-terrorism drive, he said. He underscored the need for encouraging the scholars, ulema, political and social leadership and their workers, members of print and electronic media, civil society, lawyers fraternity, traders, businessmen, industrialists, labour class, youth, students, etc., to play their role in the campaign in a bid to provide guidelines and create awareness among the citizens with respect to dealing with terrorism. He demanded of the government and those at the helm of affairs to announce the formulation of the above-said policy and establish a permanent institution for the prevention of terrorism.