ISLAMABAD - Terming the recent terrorist attacks intolerable Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government was ready to take difficult decisions to put things right and establish peace, in a clear indication that political leadership was now convinced about failure of its ‘talks-first policy’.
The prime minister rang up Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif soon after the Rawalpindi attack in which a Taliban suicide bomber killed 13 people including security personnel in a market next to military headquarters (GHQ) on Monday, a day after another Taliban bombing killed 26 soldiers in Bannu.
Nawaz expressed his grief over these terrorist acts and told the COAS that extraordinary measures would be taken to deal with the prevailing extraordinary and difficult situation, as he expressed his resolve to do whatever it takes to end the menace of terrorism.
During the brief chat the prime minister said that the whole nation was standing with the Armed Forces of the country in this time of trial. Both the leaders discussed the overall security situation in the country in face of surge in the terrorist attacks in the country.
On the other hand, the federal cabinet on Monday had marathon discussion on the draft of the National Policy on Internal Security but its approval was deferred as Premier Nawaz wanted it to be more comprehensive and he also asked all his cabinet colleagues to give their input. The PM also directed the interior ministry to have input and reflection of other stakeholders and experts to make the policy more effective and deliverable.
Addressing the cabinet, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the resolve to establish supremacy of law in the country at any cost. He said supremacy of law is inevitable for establishment of a society based on justice and equality. He stressed the need for taking extraordinary measures to crush militancy as the country is passing through a difficult phase.
The prime minister also stressed to make the borders management system more effective. He said the government would not compromise on principles. The PM said that efforts against terrorism had become question of country’s survival and it was a national responsibility to curb the menace. He told the participants that government preferred national interests over the political ones especially whenever there is a question of national security.
In the deliberations over the security policy, which lasted for well over three hours, it was the unanimous view of the cabinet members that terrorists would be dealt with an iron hand and stringent measures would be taken to quell the menace of terrorism, which is holding hostage the whole nation. It was further agreed upon that anti-terrorist courts would be established across the country and special prosecutors would be appointed to tackle the terrorism related cases on fast track.
Earlier, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan gave a briefing on the policy draft, telling his cabinet colleagues that the first phase of the policy would be confidential while the second and third phase of the policy would be aimed at improving intelligence services, coordination among them and equipping the law enforcement agencies with the state of the art equipment and weapons to effectively counter the terrorists.
Nisar said that structural loopholes in the operations of law enforcement agencies and their shortcomings were kept in mind while framing the policy. He said the new policy proposes establishing a new system of intelligence sharing between the security agencies under the umbrella of Anti-Terrorism Authority wherein all the civil and military intelligence agencies of the country would work in a coordinated fashion to track and smash the terrorist networks.
The minister said the new policy also included the comprehensive mechanism to check the people funding various terrorist organisations operating in the country. By adopting this policy the financial assistance coming to various groups and organisations both from within the country and abroad could be effectively checked, he added.
The cabinet also discussed at length the recent attack on a media vehicle killing three people. The interior minister informed the cabinet about the measures taken for the security of media houses across the country. He said that soon he would be having a detailed meeting with the management of various media houses to take adequate security measures for them.
Interior Minister Nisar was also to brief the meeting about the progress made on dialogue with various Taliban groups but keeping in view the suicide attack in Rawalpindi on Monday morning he skipped it and stereotype statement came from some of the cabinet members that government still wanted to give dialogue a chance but practically the achievements so far made on this front were washed away by terrorist attacks on Armed Forces personnel in last two days. The cabinet members also offered fateha for the martys of RA Bazar and Bannu blasts and expressed solidarity with the Armed Forces.