Islamabad  -   The National Security Committee (NSC), which met on Wednesday to review the internal and external security situation, reiterated that Pakistan shall continue all efforts towards regional peace and stability.

Chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the high powered committee held two separate sessions and, among other things, discussed country’s economic issues and the measures being taken for resolving them.

“The forum discussed geo-strategic environment with special reference to recent developments in the region,” said an official statement issued after the meeting which was attended by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmed Shah and some other key ministers.

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and ISI DG Lt-Gen Syed Asim Munir Ahmed Shah also attended the meeting.

The NSC discussed and fully supported ongoing efforts towards a sustainable and lasting resolution of country’s economic issues, according to the statement.

It said that the forum also reiterated Pakistan’s resolve for regional peace and stability and expressed that the country shall continue all its efforts towards this goal.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday had said that Pakistan successfully stemmed the tide of security challenges and the nation should stay united for ‘ultimate success’. Pakistan should stay  ready for any unforeseen eventuality, he had emphasized, during his visit to the forward posts along the Pak-Afghan border at Dawatoi in North Waziristan.

In a separate session, the committee discussed Gilgit-Baltistan reforms. The prime minister directed that the aspirations of people of the area, especially the youth, must be given pre-eminence during the decision making process.

Other key participants of the meeting were Law Minister Mohammad Farogh Naseem, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Ali Amin Gandapur, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and GB Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman.

 COAS meets PM

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Jawed Bajwa on Wednesday also held a separate meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister Office in Islamabad.

Sources said the prime minister and the army chief deliberated on various issues, including security matters, law and order situation and the Pakistan Army’s professional matters during the meeting.

This is the second meeting between the two in less than 10 days’ time. Earlier, on May 15, the army chief held an important meeting with the prime minister at the latter’s office.

According to an official statement, security matters were discussed during the meeting, which comes days after Pakistan signed a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $6 billion bailout package ahead of the national budget for upcoming fiscal year.

 Sensitivity of GB

Necessity for reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan stems from the recent developments in the region where Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have busted a subversive network working at the behest of the Indian spy agency RAW to destabilise the area that borders Kashmir and was once part of the Kashmir state.

The network identified as Balwaristan National Front (Hameed Group) was bankrolled by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) which has been stoking terrorism in Pakistan through its proxies.

A serving Indian navy commander, Kulbhushan Jadav, who was arrested during a counter-intelligence operation in March 2016 in Balochistan, has already admitted in a televised confession that RAW is involved in fuelling terrorism in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan.

India publicly opposes the $46 billion CPEC project, claiming that the road and rail network passes through GB which, according to Delhi, is part of the Himalayan region of Kashmir and hence a disputed region.

The Balwaristan National Front (Hameed Group) which operated under the guise of a nationalist party had made long-term planning to sow chaos and anarchy in GB at the behest of RAW.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have arrested 14 BNF-H activists during a recent operation and recovered a huge cache of weapons from their possession. Sher Nadir Shahi, the head of the group’s student wing, had turned himself in February.

According to sources, RAW mentored the BNF-H to brainwash young students in GB universities through anti-Pakistan propaganda. The group’s kingpin, Abdul Hameed Khan, also planned terrorist attacks in the region.

Khan had been tasked by RAW to malign Pakistan internationally, sources say. He had sent letters to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an attempt to stop financial and technical aid for six proposed dams in the country.

Khan, who belongs to the Ghizer valley of GB, went to Nepal in 1999 from where he had been taken by RAW agents Col Arjun and Joshi to India, where he lived in luxury apartments in New Delhi with his family, including three sons. His children had been educated at elitist schools and colleges of Dehradun, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

RAW invested heavily in Khan for 11 years – from 1999 to 2007 and from 2015 to 2018. Khan was provided with Indian ID documents and facilitated to run a business.

Khan had been shifted to Brussels in 2007 to appear at international forums and deliver anti Pakistan speeches. The Indian spy agency provided INR 1 billion for the activities of BNF-H in GB.

The GB chapter of BNF-H was busted in an intelligence-based operation (IBO), which was spreading secessionist sentiments among the local population, especially the youth, through a magazine, namely ‘Balawaristan Times’.

Fourteen BNF-H activists were arrested during the IBO which also yielded a huge quantity of weapons and ammunition. Apart from its activities in GB, the group, financially aided by RAW, also sponsored a large number of students in various parts of the country.

Sher Nadir Shahi, the chairman of Balawanistan National Student Organisation (BNSO), the student wing of BNF-H, was actively involved in RAW-sponsored activities. He was doing the bidding of RAW and Khan in Rawalpindi and Ghizer. He published ‘Balawaristan Times’. Sher Nadir Shahi fled to the UAE with the aid of his paymasters from where he was shifted to Nepal.

The Indian spy agency pumped in massive funds – more than INR 1 billion to be precise, through Khan. Of which, 700 million was sent to Pakistan through different channels for subversive activities and terrorism in GB and to discredit Pakistan internationally.

Khan continued with his push to activate his affiliates for sabotage and guerrilla activities and terrorist attack in GB and offered all kind of support, including weapons and financial resources – INR 12 million per annum – militant training and assistance to set up an FM Radio for anti-Pakistan propaganda.

However, he could not succeed due to effective activities of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The local chapter of BNF-H was successfully busted in an operation, codenamed ‘Operation Pursuit’.

After achieving so-called sustainable level of subversion in GB in 2007-2008, Abdul Hameed Khan was shifted to Brussels (2008-2015) to internationalise the issue through international forums and media.

He wrote to various international financial institutions asking them not to provide financial or technical support to Pakistan for six dams it planned to build in GB or elsewhere.

However, Abdul Hameed Khan unconditionally surrendered on Feb 8, 2019. More than a month later, Sher Nadir Shahi also turned himself in on March 29, 2019.