500 convicts to be hanged in coming weeks: Nisar

Published: December 22, 2014
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If our aim was to target civilians, we could have wiped out Miramshah with a couple of strikes, says Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. PHOTO: PID

If our aim was to target civilians, we could have wiped out Miramshah with a couple of strikes, says Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: Around 500 prisoners convicted on terrorism-related charges will be executed in the next two to three weeks, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Sunday while sharing with the media details of a national action plan against terror.

“The interior ministry has cleared these prisoners for execution and their mercy petitions have already been rejected by the president,” Nisar told a news conference in Islamabad.

The decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism-related cases was taken before the Peshawar school attack, the minister clarified. “Army chief General Raheel Sharif had taken up the issue [of capital punishment] with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the Peshawar tragedy.”

Nisar warned that the decision to execute convicted terrorists could have severe repercussions as suggested by intelligence reports. “But we should not let our guard down if we want to avenge the victims of the Peshawar attack… we are in a state of war,” he said. “We will win this war.”

About the national action plan against terrorism, the minister said the civilian and military leadership would sit together on Tuesday to discuss the strategy being prepared by counter-terrorism experts and the National Action Plan Committee (NAPC) before giving a final nod for action to the armed forces.

“The experts’ group will most probably give its recommendations to the NAPC on Monday [today],” he said. “The panel will then discuss the plan in the evening [on Monday].”

According to the minister, the experts received a briefing at the military headquarters and would continue their marathon meeting throughout Sunday night.

Sharing other steps the government has taken in the aftermath of the Peshawar massacre, Nisar said his ministry has asked all four provincial chief ministers to convene weekly meetings of police officers and discuss measures to counter any retaliatory moves by militants in response to the ongoing action against them. He added that all provincial police chiefs have also been directed to meet their district police officers and chalk out a strategy to keep a check on strangers in every city.

In response to a question, the minister said an Ulema conference would also be convened in the coming weeks to discuss security issues.

Nisar said the terrorists who carried out the Army Public School attack were Pakistanis, as initial reports had suggested. He added that the police and security forces have arrested several people suspected of planning the dastardly attack in the aftermath of the tragedy.

During his briefing, Nisar stressed that the Pakistan Army does not target women and children. “The Pakistan Army has never targeted the families and children of militants,” he said, adding that before launching the offensive in North Waziristan Agency in June, the country’s civil and military leadership had the mutual stance of ensuring ‘minimum to no casualties’.

“If our aim was to target civilians, we could have wiped out Miramshah – where both militants and civilians live side by side – with a couple of strikes,” the minister said. “But we do not target non-combatants.”

Nisar said fighting terrorists was easier for other countries since terrorists looked different from native populations. “But in Pakistan, militants and their sympathisers look like us and live among us. It is an internal war for us.”

He urged the nation to unite in the fight against terrorism just as it united in grief following the Peshawar attack. “The army has been fighting terrorists for some time now but the nation needs to stand up and join the fight,” he said.

The interior minister asked citizens to report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station. “A helpline will be set up within a week so that people can report suspicious activity,” he said.

He requested the media to refrain from giving coverage to militants and urged hotels and houseowners to thoroughly check potential tenants’ credentials and backgrounds before renting out their property.

Nisar also appealed to mosques and madrassas to report suspicious people and asked cellular service providers to issue SIM cards only after thorough scrutiny. “The security of the nation is our top priority,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2014.

Reader Comments (11)

  • sabi
    Dec 22, 2014 - 3:42AM

    This man is extremely incompetent for job of interior ministry.He calls terror factories (madrasas) as 90% peaceful-He is calling meeting of ulema who are 90% involved in sectarianism to eliminate terrorism.There must be no mullah in any meeting involving law and order debates.If this government doesn’t learn the lesson- be ready for Marshal law.
    You asked for it.

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Dec 22, 2014 - 5:03AM

    According to Sigmund Freud, those who understand the “theory of oppression”, have already grasped half of psychoanalysis, which is an issue that leads directly into the heart of depth psychology.

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  • Dr. Faraz Arif
    Dec 22, 2014 - 5:57AM

    Nisar sahib, even if you execute 10,000 convicts it will not save Pakistan. Cure the disease don’t treat the symptoms.

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  • Rauf
    Dec 22, 2014 - 5:58AM

    Minister is for sure living in fools paradise. Can’t he see Mulla Aziz of Lal Masjid or Haqania Madarrassa and countless other maddrassas in Punjab and other parts of Pakistan. Hanging a few individuals without due and transparent process will not solve the problem. solution needs fundamental changes in the education system and guts from political leadership. Political leadership is impotent and education system is failing.

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  • Raj Kafir
    Dec 22, 2014 - 6:46AM

    Except Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim.

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  • Toba Alu
    Dec 22, 2014 - 8:26AM

    All this hanging is not going to prevent potential suicide bombers, they themselves determine the time of their death. It is not protecting the populace against these murderers as they are already incarcerated. It is not preventing potential terrorists from carrying out their heinous crimes, because they believe it is right what they are doing and that they will generously be rewarded in the afterlife. Conclusion, it is just revenge killing perfectly fitting the national culture and psyche, only inflating the cycle of violence. I feel sorry for a nation that keeps on cultivating hatred, blaming others for their fate, and throwing reason, evidence and logical thinking out of the window. You could do better. Wish you more wisdom, love and compassion.

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  • Umair M
    Dec 22, 2014 - 3:17PM

    Empty chants and big talks will never resolve this grave situation ordinary people are facing in Pakistan. It’s time to take out sympathisers and terrorists openly and implement strict laws with heavy punishments for such barbarians. No lal masjid or any madrasah, fake maulvi or a bearded satan should be allowed to breed or exist in the streets of Pakistan. Regularisation of education and hierarchical system of educated and thoughtful religious scholars should be immediately done and system should be developed to bring intelligent, educated, professional and positive people to provide religious lead to the people. Visionary people should be brought into power not a sheep like this minister who has no competency or ability to professionally lead this ministry and to bring a positive change

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  • Danish Zaidi
    Dec 22, 2014 - 3:57PM

    Ch. Nisar,

    I was expecting, you will never come again with any press conference excpet about announcement of your resignation.

    If you have self respect, you should have resigned on same evening.

    Such deadliest attack and none of the top offical has resigned. Strange!!!!!!!!!

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  • [email protected]
    Dec 23, 2014 - 9:26AM

    It is only when Pakistanis walk away from religion, that they will walk towards God

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  • kafirmusafir
    Dec 23, 2014 - 9:55AM

    Ch Nisar should keep some of the 500 terrorists for later use against infidels and kafirs.Also, Ch. Nisar should never have said the terrorists who carried out the Army Public School attack were Pakistanis. That’s a loss of assets how can the people believe that USA, Israel, and India were not involved in attacks through dozens of Indian consulates in Afghanistan, and thousands of US soldiers, and millions of Jews who have no good intention for Pakistan. The Interior Minister is fighting a losing battle.

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  • fromusofa
    Dec 24, 2014 - 1:58PM

    what is the fight about, anyway?

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