ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered establishment of National Intelligence Directorate under the National Counterterrorism Authority besides giving affirmative nod to establish rapid response forces at the federal and provincial levels.

The premier passed these orders while chairing a high-level meeting on the national security here at Prime Minister’s House on Tuesday. All the four chief ministers, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, ISI DG Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Ashfaq Ahmad Nadeem and DG MO Maj-Gen Amir Riaz attended the meeting. The chief secretaries and IGs of the provinces and other government officials were also among the participants.

The military operations DG, the ISI deputy director general and the interior minister briefed the meeting on different aspects of internal security issues which remained under discussion for over four hours.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also directed fast-track establishment of high security prisons in all the provinces. Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed The Nation that the ongoing dialogue process with Taliban also figured in the meeting. Premier Sharif took the chief ministers into confidence on the progress so far made in this regard.

The issue of the non-combatant prisoners in various agencies’ custody also figured in the meeting and it was decided that once the two sides sat across the table for negotiations, the issue would be resolved.

The prime minister directed the provinces to utilise the options available in the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance as this law had allowed electronic evidence, video-link trial with the provision of transferring trials and prisoners to the other provinces and preventive detention of enemy aliens.

The prime minister said the provincial governments and institutions would have to work hard to establish a secure environment by eliminating terrorism as economic prosperity was linked to security and peace in the country.

He also reviewed the capacities of federal and provincial law-enforcement agencies and said the provinces needed to work more to ensure admissible evidence and efficient prosecution in heinous offences within the time limits. The new legal framework dealing with counterterrorism measures was also reviewed. The prime minister said all the provincial governments and institutions should maintain security and eliminate terrorism.

The prime minister ordered immediate establishment of National Intelligence Directorate under NACTA to pool national and provincial intelligence resources. The prime minister also approved establishment of rapid response forces at federal and provincial levels with quality and trained manpower.

Later, the prime minister handed over bomb disposal squad vehicles to the provinces. The vehicles, equipped with the latest technology to defuse bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were received by the provincial chief ministers.

Later, talking to media persons at the PM House after the high-level meeting on the country’ internal security, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ruled out all speculations regarding the politicians-military relationship and said both the leaderships were on the same page on the national security matters.

At the same time, the minister showed his firm resolve by saying the targets visualised in the National Security Policy would be met within the given time frame.

The minister said the political and military leadership held detailed discussion on the recently launched National Internal Security Policy (NISP). The cabinet had recently approved NISP and, later, it had been tabled on the floor of the National Assembly for detailed discussion at the last session of the House.

Ch Nisar said a number of such meetings would be held in the near future to discuss the internal security of the country and Internal Security Policy would be implemented according to the timelines given in it. He said the objective of all the efforts was to make Pakistan a secure country.

About the meeting chaired by the PM, he said the leadership focused on the issues of capacity building of security forces and increasing coordination among the 26 intelligence agencies working in the country.

The joint intelligence directorate to be set up will coordinate activities of the intelligence agencies, he added. The minister said participants of the meeting showed their confidence after they were informed of the on-going peace dialogue process with Taliban.

“This is for the first time in the last many years that any equipment has been handed over to the provinces to combat terrorism,” Chaudhry Nisar said.

The minister said 65 bomb disposal vehicles would be handed over to the provinces in the coming months and added that in the past, personnel of bomb disposal squads used to defuse bombs manually. He alleged the previous governments showed criminal negligence during the last 13 years due to which the law and order situation deteriorated.