Following an uptick in terror activities across the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced that Pakistan will adopt a “zero tolerance policy” for terrorists challenging its writ.
The decision came after a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Monday, which according to the premier took “major decisions” after hours of deliberations.
“Peace is non-negotiable,” PM Shehbaz wrote on his official Twitter handle.
The prime minister’s statement came a day after the Taliban regime in Kabul angrily reacted to a statement of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, wherein the minister had said that Pakistan could carry out cross-border military action against the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has been using its safe havens in Afghanistan as a springboard for its new terror campaign.
The Afghan Ministry of National Defense said it considered Sanaullah’s claim about the presence of TTP in Afghanistan and his threat of possible attack inside Afghanistan as “provocative and baseless”.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: According to an official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House on Monday, the 40th meeting of the NSC held in Islamabad, decided that no country will be allowed to provide sanctuaries and facilitation to terrorists and Pakistan reserves all rights to safeguard its people.
The statement added that the law-and-order situation in the country has worsened over the past few months. Terrorist groups, including the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), executed terror attacks across the country.
The NSC also reiterated its resolve to have zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan and reaffirmed its determination to take on any and all entities that resort to violence.
“This [terrorism] will be dealt with the full force of the state. Pakistan’s security is uncompromisable and the full writ of the state will be maintained on every inch of the territory.”
The NSC underscored that comprehensive ‘national security’ revolves around economic security and that sovereignty or dignity comes under stress without self-sufficiency and economic independence.
The committee was also briefed security situation with a particular focus on recent terrorist incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
PM Shehbaz emphasised that the war against terrorism will be led by federal and provincial governments as per National Action Plan (NAP) in accordance with National Internal Security Policy (NISP) with people-centric socio-economic development as a priority while armed forces will provide resolute deterrence and a secure conducive and enabling environment, the statement continued.
Provincial apex committees are being revived in full earnest and law enforcement agencies especially Counter-Terrorism Departments (CTD) will be brought up to the required fighting standards with requisite capabilities.
ECONOMY: The statement revealed that the forum undertook a comprehensive view of the ongoing economic situation keeping in view the challenges being faced by the common people of Pakistan, particularly the lower and middle-income classes.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar briefed the NSC about the economic stability roadmap of the government, including the status of discussions with international financial institutions, exploring other financial avenues based on mutual interests as well as relief measures for common people.
In order to strengthen the economy, the committee agreed on undertaking concrete steps including import rationalisation as well as preventing illegal currency outflows and hawala business.
“Emphasis will be specially made to improve agricultural output and manufacturing sector to ensure food security, import substitution and employment. It was resolved that people-centric economic policies with trickle-down effects to common people will remain a priority,” the statement read.
The NSC agreed to involve all stakeholders for consensus to realise effective and fast-track economic recovery and road map.
FLOOD SITUATION: While taking into account the efforts for mitigating the challenges of 33 million flood affectees, the forum resolved to mobilise all resources for their rehabilitation and reconstruction in coordination with the provincial governments and multilateral financial institutions.
The meeting was attended by federal cabinet members, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, all services chiefs, and heads of intelligence services.