National Security Committee vows firm response to resurging terrorism – Pakistan
- Nacta will have a central role in anti-terrorist actions, the main committees will be reactivated
- The provincial government led by PTI is responsible for the situation unfolding in Swat
- Asif says that ‘there are no concrete results’ from the negotiations with TTP prohibited
ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) vowed on Friday to respond firmly to the resurgence of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and agreed on a plan to reinvigorate the anti-terrorism apparatus.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by ministers, service chiefs and intelligence agency heads, was called against the backdrop of large-scale protests in Swat against growing insecurity in the picturesque valley. It was, therefore, a first kind of acknowledgment at the highest level of the deterioration of the situation.
The NSC determination coincided with comments from defense minister Khawaja Asif who separately said recent talks with outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had been inconclusive and “produced no concrete results”, but added that the armed forces were fully capable of containing any threat to national security.
The protests in Swat were sparked by the killing of a school van driver in Mingora on Monday. The incident coincided with the tenth anniversary of the attack on Malala Yousafzai.
“The [NSC] The meeting made it clear that the blood of every citizen of Pakistan is highly valuable and the law will strictly deal with anyone involved in spilling it,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The participants of the meeting stated that the institutions of the State and the people came together to protect the life and property of citizens; safeguard the geographical integrity of the country; and uphold the rule of law. The achievement of these objectives, they affirmed, would be “assured at all costs”.
It should be remembered that the federal cabinet also, in its last meeting, expressed concern about the situation and was concerned that it could reverse the progress made against the militancy through a series of anti-terrorist operations.
Prime Minister Sharif, a source said, wanted a comprehensive plan to be put in place to fix the problem.
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was here this week to express her solidarity with the victims of the floods, also supported the protests.
“I add my voice to that of thousands of people protesting for peace in Swat. Monday’s attack on a school bus full of children is a terrifying reminder that our people must not be forced back into a life of fear and terrorism,” he tweeted.
Among the various steps agreed by the NSC to deal with the situation, the return of the main committee from the Nawaz Sharif-Gen Raheel Sharif era was agreed upon.
“The meeting decided to form the Apex Committee at the central level, which will be chaired by the prime minister,” the PMO said.
Participants decided to give the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) a central role in the new counter-terrorism strategy, instead of putting the armed forces in the lead.
Nacta, it was said, will work with the provincial Anti-Terrorist Departments (CTD).
It was agreed that anti-terrorism infrastructure at the federal and provincial levels would be strengthened and law enforcement agencies would be equipped with modern technology and training of their personnel would be undertaken.
Nacta would also have a role in the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the PMO said.
National Assembly member Mohsin Dawar, National Party leader Awami Mian Iftikhar Hussain also participated in the meeting.
The PTI government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, was not represented at the meeting.
Khawaja Asif, who belongs to the PML-N, promised that the PTI governments in Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan would soon be removed, as the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance was already working on it.
Read: Why and how is the TTP making a comeback in Swat?
Asif attacks the PTI
Also on Friday, addressing the arab news Pakistan Annual Conference 2022, Khawaja Asif blamed the PTI-led KP government for the resurgence of terrorists.
“It is very encouraging to see the public take to the streets just for their rights. I trust that the situation [in Swat] will be controlled. However, the recent resurgence of a few terrorists is an expected side effect of Afghanistan,” he said.
“The situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is under control and will be dealt with in a friendly manner in case of any adverse situation.”
He asked the KP government to take notice of the situation, adding that the federal government would support him in any case.
“We are going to remove [these governments the way] how we overthrew the PTI government in the Center”, he revealed.
The minister in response to a question said that the change of command in the armed forces was a matter of sanctity, which must be kept sacred.
KP ‘explanation’ for presence of militants
On the other hand, a senior official from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, in an informal conversation with journalists on Thursday night, said that not all the attacks could be related to the outlawed TTP, as they had informed the government during the talks that they would claim responsibility for the attacks they will carry out.
Explaining the role of various branches and splinter groups, he said many of those groups operating in the region were hostile to the TTP, adding that the recent attack on a school van in Swat did not appear to be the work of the banned organization.
On the infiltration of militants in Matta tehsil, he said that a militant commander had apparently come to the house to inquire about the health of his sick sister, but since the police officers were unaware of the contacts between the government and the militants, it resulted in a mishap.
Manzoor Ali in Peshawar also contributed to this report.
Posted in Alba, October 15, 2022