Pakistan’s prime minister stresses need of swift persecution for terrorists to set ‘example’ for extremist elements
The Government of Pakistan must adopt proactive measures to tackle incidents of terrorism in future, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday, as he stressed “zero tolerance” for all extremist elements in the country.
Chairing a meeting of the Apex Committee on the National Action Plan (NAP) in Islamabad, the premier strongly condemned last week’s bombing at a Shia mosque in Peshawar and offered condolences for the people who lost their lives in the attack. “The prime minister said that the government has zero tolerance for terrorists and swift persecution is required to set an example,” read a statement issued by the Press Information Department.
The ISIS-K militant group has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Shia imambargah in Peshawar during Friday prayers that left 57 people dead, and over 190 others injured. The death toll has since risen to 63, with the death of six of the 10 critically injured victims.
The PID said that Khan had emphasized adopting a multi-pronged approach, including “vigorous” implementation of NAP to thwart the threat of terrorism in the country. He also stressed upon adopting proactive measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in future. “The prime minister stated that nefarious designs to destabilize the country would never succeed as the entire nation is united to defeat the menace of terrorism,” the statement added.
The prime minister also noted that the public recognized that certain elements were trying to sow societal discord on the basis of sectarianism and hate speech, adding that the state would never allow such plans to succeed.
According to the statement, the Apex Committee’s participants stressed upon the need to strengthen the role of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) to coordinate measures needed for countering terrorism and capacity building of counter-terrorism departments. “It was also highlighted that provinces need to allocate more resources to conduct effective investigations by adopting scientific techniques and setting up modern forensic labs,” it said, adding that the need to ensure a conclusive end to terrorism cases in courts of law was emphasized.
During the meeting, the federal secretary for the Interior Division presented a detailed briefing on NAP’s implementation, including measures taken to curb terror financing; counter violent extremism; investigate and prosecute terrorism cases; boost intolerance to militancy; build capacity of law enforcement agencies; the regulation and registration of madrassas; the merger of the erstwhile FATA areas into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province; reforms in the criminal justice system; eliminate sectarian terrorism; curb smuggling, narcotics and human trafficking; and facilitate the reconciliation process in Balochistan and other issues related to refugees.
Per the statement issued by PID, the meeting was informed that “satisfactory implementation” had been achieved on a majority of action points, however support from provincial governments was needed to resolve inter-provincial issues.
In addition to the prime minister, the meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa; the chief ministers of all provinces; National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf; federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Asad Umar; chief secretaries; inspectors general of police; and other senior civil and military officers.