ISLAMABAD - Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif on Thursday paid rich tribute to the political leaders of the country for their spirit, unity and unwavering resolve to rid Pakistan of the menace of terrorism through reforms and administrative measures.

He was addressing a high-level security meeting at GHQ to review main points of the national action plan on counter-terrorism that was devised by the political leadership with consensus the other day. The army chief directed the authorities concerned within the army and intelligence agencies to effectively implement the plan.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the army chief chaired a high-level security meeting of army and intelligence agencies’ officials at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Thursday. He reviewed all activities which will be undertaken as part of the national action plan. He directed that the plan should be effectively and speedily implemented.

Reiterating his resolve in unequivocal terms to root out the menace of extremism and terrorism, the COAS hoped that in keeping with confidence and trust of the nation, they can transform this consensus into practical actions on ground. ISPR DG Asim Bajwa posted a series of tweets about the high-level security meeting chaired by the COAS.

After a marathon meeting, the country’s political leadership had on Wednesday approved a comprehensive plan of action against terrorism in a move described by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a ‘defining moment’ in the fight against terrorism.

The 20-point National Action Plan that envisages establishment of special courts for speedy trial of terror suspects and a crackdown on jihadi and sectarian outfits was announced by the prime minister in a televised address to the nation late Wednesday night following a daylong meeting of the heads of all parliamentary parties at the Prime Minister House.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday said that time had come for “bold decisions” to eliminate terrorism from the country. This message was conveyed by Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General (ISPR DG) Asim Bajwa on Twitter, in which he quoted the army chief as telling the meeting of parliamentary leaders in Islamabad that “we owe it to our next generations to eliminate this scourge once and for all.”

Earlier, the COAS had briefed the meeting during which he said that 2,100 terrorists were killed and 190 soldiers had died during Operation Zarb-e-Azb which is being carried out in the North Waziristan tribal region. The meeting in the federal capital was held to tackle the threat of terrorism in the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack in which 134 children were killed. The army chief described the Peshawar school attack as a “ghastly act of cowardice” and said the perpetrators of the attack were “not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced in the late-night address to the nation on Wednesday that the country’s political leadership had agreed to set up special military courts to try hardened terrorists. The courts, which will be operative for two years, will require a constitutional amendment before they could start functioning. “All day on Wednesday, according to a participant of the meeting held at the PM House, the military leadership stressed the need to set up military courts as the justice system had failed to deliver.”

Briefing the APC, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali had said the participants of the National Action Plan Committee had also agreed to raise a force of five thousand personnel to counter terrorism. He said the army would prepare and train this force, which will be deployed in the federal capital and the four provinces. He said there was a consensus among the committee members that effective coordination among the civil-military leadership was imperative to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the country.

The PM in his speech to the APC said the committee emphasised proactive efforts to check financial support to terrorists, and their communication networks. He said the members also underlined the need to update the Red Book of the most wanted suspects regularly. He said the committee called for ensuring that the banned organisations do not reemerge with different names.

He said there was a demand by the members of the committee to immediately ban the material on internet that glorifies terrorists and their activities. Interior Minister Ch Nisar also said glorification of terrorists on media will be totally banned, and if a law is required for it, it would be made.