QUETTA - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday urged provinces to implement decisions taken under the National Action Plan (NAP) speedily by inculcating a spirit of healthy competition to rid the country of the menace of extremism and terrorism.

Chairing a meeting of Balochistan apex committee at the Governor House in Quetta, the prime minister said objective of the meeting was to review the progress on the National Action Plan and see if there were any problems or impediments hindering their implementation.

He said the government along with the Pakistan Army would ensure that the problem areas and obstacles, if any, in implementing the decisions are removed. He said the NAP was in real terms a national plan, made with consensus and difficult decisions were taken with a spirit to eradicate terrorism from the country. He said the whole nation backed the government in the fight against terrorism.

Prime Minister Nawaz recalled that representatives of all the political parties stood together, took tough decisions following which the parliament did the necessary legislation. He said the federal and provincial governments and the army were on the same page and stood united in ridding the country of the threats of extremism and terrorism. He directed that all cases of death penalty in which mercy petitions had been rejected should be proceeded for execution.

He also pointed out that no one should take credit for resolving the challenges of the country alone as there was unity in the rank and file of the country’s leadership. “We are one and we are a team,” he emphasised. About the share of provinces in natural resources, the prime minister said that the constitution had clearly explained this chapter on the provinces’ due rights.

The meeting was attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal, former PM Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Commander Southern Command Lt-Gen General Nasser Khan Janjua, Senior Minister Sanaullah Zehri, Home Minister Mir Sarfarz Bugti, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattha, Home Secretary Muhammad Akbar Durrani, IGP Muhammad Amlish, Frontier Corps Balochistan IG Major General Shair Afghan, the interior secretary and other senior officers.

The prime minister lauded the measures taken by the provincial government for maintaining law and order in Balochistan and said tangible improvement could be seen on NAP implementation. He asked the provincial government to check the incidents of law and order to make the people feel secure, besides concerted efforts to ensure safety and protection of people from all communities. He also directed effective steps to stop re-emergence of proscribed organisations. He said the madaris (seminaries) involved in terrorism and violence be identified and dealt with in accordance with the law.

The Balochistan CM said that priority of the provincial government was to improve law and order situation. He said funds were being provided for capacity building of police. He said a counter-terrorism department had been set up. However, he pointed that it needed to be strengthened.

The Balochistan chief secretary gave a presentation on the implementation of 20 points of the National Action Plan as well as an overview of law and order situation in the province. He briefed the PM about the action taken by the provincial government against sectarian, armed groups and militias since the formulation of the NAP. In this regard, 80,000 unregistered mobile phone SIMs had been blocked in the province, the chief secretary said. The provincial government also conveyed its reservations about the use of Afghani SIMs in Pakistan. The prime minister was informed that three meetings of the Balochistan Apex Committee had taken place so far.

Prime Minister Nawaz also visited the headquarters of Southern Command where the Commander briefed him about the challenges faced by the province and the progress made to resolve them. Speaking at a lunch hosted by Commander Southern Command Lt-Gen Nasir Khan Janjua in which notables from all over Balochistan participated, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that political and military leadership was on the same page and they would steer the country out of current challenges through their joint efforts.

The PM said Pakistan had made a new beginning and the leadership was taking steps together for finding solutions to the problems being faced by the country. He appreciated the continuity of cooperation and coordination generated throughout the country, whether it related to the issue of terrorism or promotion of harmony in Balochistan. “The message should be conveyed that the political and military leadership of the country is united to resolve all issues,” he said, adding that such a message was being conveyed, promoting further unity among the nation.

Nawaz Sharif said they have gathered for the harmony and prosperity of Balochistan, and lauded efforts of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and the Commander Southern Command, in this regard. “There should be dawn of prosperity and no area of this province should lag behind. There should be no sense of disparity,” he said and stressed for taking the country forward on the path of development while functioning under the constitution.

The prime minister said that Balochistan was as close to his heart as other provinces of the country and the government desired to bring this province at par with other provinces by initiating development and providing basic necessities to the people at their doorstep. Maximum benefit of Balochistan’s resources must reach to its residents, he added.