Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that Pakistan Army has offered to train and arm the Balochistan police as violence spiked in the troubled province.
Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said that the army is willing to train the Balochistan police force on an ‘emergency basis’ and provide 5,000 sub-machine guns for counter-terrorism operations, Chaudhry Nisar told journalists in Quetta on Sunday.
He was visiting Quetta three days after a suicide bomber killed over 30 people at the funeral of a slain police official at the Police Lines.
He said the federal government has also offered to conduct capacity-building training for the Balochistan government. Coordination between intelligence and security agencies would be enhanced to preempt the Police Lines-like attacks in the future.
Earlier in the day, Chaudhry Nisar met with the Balochistan chief minister and top security officials to review security arrangements and rectify lapses, if any. The meeting looked into why the measures taken to improve the situation in Balochistan had not been fruitful.
Asked if the Police Lines attack was the result of a security lapse and whether anyone was held responsible, Chaudhry Nisar said an investigation was under way.
At the same time, he regretted that the successes of security agencies in the fight against terrorism were often overlooked. Citing an example, the minister said the perpetrators of the deadly attack on a bus near the women’s university had been arrested.
Responding to criticism against the government for ‘delaying’ the national security policy, the minister said the government did not want to rush the process and would unveil the policy after ‘thorough homework’. He added that the government was studying the security policies of various countries and was trying to adapt elements from them according to Pakistan’s needs. Justifying the delays, he said it took a country like the US a year following the 9/11 attacks to formulate a security policy.
Chaudhry Nisar said that despite repeated attacks, the morale of the security agencies and armed forces was high. Expressing deepest regret over Thursday’s attack, he announced gallantry awards for all police officers who lost their lives in the tragedy.
He also urged politicians, civil society members and media to play their role in combating terrorism.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.