LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that all political forces and the entire nation must unite to defeat lawlessness in the country.

He was addressing a high-level meeting at Elite Police Training School, Bedian Road, on Saturday. Restructuring of Anti-Terrorism Department, performance of Elite Police Force, setting up of Anti-Terrorism Force and overall law & order situation of the province were discussed in detail at the meeting.

The meeting took a number of decisions with respect to Anti-Terrorism Department and setting up of a separate intelligence system for the department, expediting recruitment of Anti-Terror Force, and immediate purchase of modern weapons. The CM directed the law-enforcement agencies to tighten security at all exist and entry points in the province and maintain a round-the-clock monitoring of security measures.

While stressing the need for taking extraordinary steps by police and the law-enforcement agencies to tackle the serious situation, the CM called for making tight and foolproof security arrangements in the province so that no mischievous element could succeed in its nefarious designs.

The chief minister ordered early completion of recruitment process in Anti-Terrorism Force with the induction of persons with best abilities. He said there would be a separate headquarters of Anti-Terrorism Department where regional offices would also be set up.

The chief minister said a separate school would also be established for the training of Anti-Terrorism Force. He said the process of identifying the site for the training school and the Anti-Terrorism Department headquarters should be completed at the earliest. While giving approval to the training programme and purchase of weapons for Anti-Terrorism Force, Shahbaz Sharif said training and purchase of modern weapons for the force were essential and needed immediate steps in this regard. He added master trainers would be prepared with the cooperation of Turkish and British experts on anti-terrorism.

The chief minister said capacity-building of Anti-Terrorism Department was need of the hour and this department should also evolve a separate intelligence system. He said Anti-Terrorism Force would prove to be the most effective weapon to eliminate terrorism and maintain law and order in the province. He disclosed that the first batch of Anti-Terrorism Force would complete its training during the current year while the elite police force would be used as Anti-Terrorism Force during this period.

Shahbaz also gave approval to the service of Anti-Terrorism Department as field service. He said the process of recruitment of 500 sub-inspectors through Punjab Public Service Commission should be further expedited. He directed the authorities to further tighten security arrangements at entry and exit points of Punjab.

Provincial ministers, Rana Sanaullah, Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, the chief secretary, Special Assistant to CM Rana Maqbool Ahmed, IGP, advocate general, the home secretary, Turk police experts and other officials concerned attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif directed the IGP to take immediate action against those involved in aerial firing in Gujranwala. The local police, taking immediate action on the direction, arrested several persons involved in this incident.