LAHORE - Punjab Apex Committee is meeting here today to take stock of the actions taken so far against terrorism under the National Action Plan (NAP) approved last year.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will chair the meeting.

Commander 4 Corps, DG Rangers Punjab and GOC 10 Division would be leading the Army team while Punjab Home Secretary, Home Minister and IGP would also be attending it. This would be the 7th meeting of the Apex Committee since its inception last year. The last meeting was held on July 16, 2015.

This high-powered body comprising both civilians and Army men, is mandated to review overall security situation, threat spectrum in the province and suggest strategic direction on concrete response measures security and counter terrorism issues for consideration by the Federal Government. As per the official data available with this paper, Punjab government has so far arrested 53,151 accused for various offences including hate speech, wall chalking, display of arms and other offences under the newly promulgated laws.

A total number of 48,617 cases have also been registered under the newly promulgated laws in the province. The new laws include: The Punjab Information of Temporary Residents Act, 2015, The Punjab Security of Vulnerable Establishments Act, 2015, Amended Wall Chalking (Punjab Prohibition on Expressing Matter on Walls) Act, 2015, Amended Arms Act, 2015, Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act, 2015, and Amended Maintenance of Public Order Act, 2015.

The government has so far detained 168 activists of proscribed organisations. Out of these, 70 activists belong to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, while 53 to ASWJ, 12 to Sipahe-Muhammad Pakistan, 30 to Tehreek-e-Jafria Pakistan,5 to Jaishe-Muhammad, two each to Sunni Ittehad Council Brailvi and Lashkar-e-Tayba while one each to Harkat-e-Jahad-e-Islami, Tehreek-e-Ghulba Islam and Sunni Tehreek.

There are a total of 13,782 religious seminaries in Punjab. Out of these, only 293 Madaris have direct or indirect link with terrorist activities.

Students and teachers from only 54 seminaries have been found actively involved in terrorism and sectarian activities, as per governments investigation.

They have been placed in category- A. Students and teachers from 244 Madrassas are facilitators of terrorism and sectarian activities and they have been placed in category- B

The rest of 13, 476 seminaries are not involved in terrorism and have been placed in category-C.

Over one million (10, 06931) students are getting religious education in these schools, out of which 966 are foreign students. Among these, 698,600 are day scholars while 31, 7487 are having boarding facilities.

Out of total 13, 782 religious schools, 7, 302 are registered with the government while 6479 are still unregistered.

According to the break –up, the Brailvi sect is running the highest number of seminaries- 6606. Out of these 3656 are registered and 2950 are unregistered. The Deobandis have a total of 61,06 schools in Punjab, out of which 3092 are registered and 3014 are unregistered.

The number of Madaris under the control of Ahle Tashe sect is only 230, out of which 147 are registered and 83 unregistered. Ahle Hadith sect is having a total of 840 such institutions out of which 408 are registered and 432 are unregistered.

Punjab government has so far referred 4 cases for trial in Army courts.

It has verified 52,061 Afghans, 7,516 NGOs and 29,254 place s of worship are under scrutiny. More than 125 terrorists links have been blocked.

Punjab government is facing the tough challenge of finalisation of proforma for Madaris registration besides the daunting task of introducing reforms in Madrassa curriculum and to settle the issue of equalence of their degrees.

Promulgation of Witness Protection Regime, Promulgation of Charity Regulation Ordinance, biometric verification of Afghan refugees, geo tagging of worship places, deregistration of dysfunctional NGOs, police reforms and forensic reforms are some of the other actions which are yet to be taken under the NAP.

A Punjab govt official said that the government had adopted effective measures to ensure implementation of National Action Plan to curb terrorism, alongwith making necessary arrangements in the relevant laws for making punitive sentences even more stringent for robust implementation.

He further stated that Chief Minister Punjab,Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, has been holding regular meetings of the Apex Committee and issuing orders for necessary measures, besides continually reviewing law and order situation.

He believed that the measures taken by Punjab Government, under National Action Plan, were yielding highly positive results, which was manifest in the improvement in the law and order situation of the province.

The Punjab government had issued guidelines under National Action Plan for maintenance of peace and order during Muharram-ul-Haram, he said.

Threat perception issued by the Home Department noted that with the commencement of military operation Zarb-e-Azb and ongoing National Action Plan had badly affected militants activities to carry out terrorist activities, he added.

The official further said that during Muharram procession and Majalis, Punjab Government issued strict instructions regarding supervision by the local administration, police, while local elected representatives accompanied the main processions and were present at sensitive points.

During Muharram, the Punjab government strictly enforced the ban on all objectionable hate material, speeches, gagging fire brand speakers, removal of objectionable wall-chalking, posters and banners, he said.

The whole nation is united in the effort to rid the country of extremism, intolerance and terrorism under the National Action Plan, he added.

Punjab Government realises that effective implementation of National Action Plan is highly essential for survival of the country in order to ensure its stability and prosperity of the nation, he stated.