Fight against terrorism: Defining moment

Published: December 25, 2014
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A file photo of PM Nawaz Sharif addressing the nation. PHOTO: APP

A file photo of PM Nawaz Sharif addressing the nation. PHOTO: APP

A file photo of PM Nawaz Sharif addressing the nation. PHOTO: APP Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses a meeting of parliamentary leaders at PM House. PHOTO: NNI
ISLAMABAD: 

After a marathon meeting, the country’s political leadership on Wednesday approved a comprehensive plan of action against terrorism in a move described by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a ‘defining moment’ in the fight against terrorism.

The 20-point National Action Plan that envisages establishment of special courts for speedy trial of terror suspects and a crackdown on jihadi and sectarian outfits was announced by the prime minister in a televised address to the nation late Wednesday night following a daylong meeting of the heads of all parliamentary parties at the Prime Minister House.

In his televised address, the prime minister said that the December 16 Peshawar school massacre has drawn a line between ‘coward’ terrorists and the Pakistani nation. “A line has been drawn. On one side are coward terrorists and on the side stands the whole nation,” he said.

“The Peshawar atrocity has changed Pakistan. We need to eradicate the mindset of terrorism to defeat extremism and sectarianism,” he said. “This horrendous attack has shaken the nation as the terrorists attacked the future of this country.”

Elaborating the 20-point National Plan of Action, the prime minister said that execution of convicted terrorists will continue. Earlier this month the premier had revoked a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism-related cases. Six convicted terrorists have been hanged since the lifting of the ban.

He said that special trial courts would be set up across the country for two years in order to ensure speedy trial of terror suspects.

The establishment of these courts was the main sticking point in the marathon meeting of the parliamentary parties as some parties, including the MQM and PPP, had reservations. However, these reservations were addressed after MQM chief Altaf Hussain and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari were contacted by phone. According to sources, the MQM and PPP sought surety from army chief General Raheel Sharif and ISI chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar that military courts will not be used against them.

An amendment will be made in the Pakistan Army Act 1952 for the establishment of these courts. The number of military courts will be according to the number of terrorists in a province. These will try all terrorists – whether they carry out attacks on military installations or civilians.

The prime minister said that a 5,000-strong dedicated counter-terrorism force would be established and deployed across the country.

He said that no armed militias will be allowed to function in the country and funding of terrorists and terrorist organisations will be choked, while effective steps would be taken to ensure that proscribed organisations don’t reemerge under different names.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Jihadi organisations fighting in Indian-held Kashmir or elsewhere would be disarmed and a crackdown would be launched against them immediately. Leaders of these groups would be tried in the special courts. Their offices would be sealed and their charity works and programmes would be stopped, they added.

Similarly, the National Plan of Action envisages registration and regulation of all Madaris. Interestingly, during the meeting of the parliamentary parties, almost all participants agreed with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that this issue should not be discussed as it would create uproar in the country.

“First fight with terrorists, then focus on Madrassa reforms,” Fazl was quoted as saying in the meeting. However, the meeting decided that those Madaris that have been established without an NOC or occupied illegal land should be banned.

Sources said that the action against terrorists in Balochistan and Karachi, and militancy in Punjab dominated the debate during the meeting. Under the National Plan of Action, the Karachi operation would be taken to its logical conclusion, while there would be zero tolerance for militancy in Punjab. In Balochistan, the provincial government would be empowered to start political reconciliation with complete ownership by all stakeholders

Earlier in his opening remarks at the meeting of the parliamentary parties, the prime minister said, “This agreement is a defining moment for Pakistan. We will eliminate terrorists from this country. We have the backing of the nation.”

“Our resolve to fight terror is a strong message for those who want to destroy Pakistan. Time for half-baked decisions is over. We agree that we have to implement it immediately,” he added.

Army chief General Raheel Sharif also briefed the participants about his meeting with the Afghan and ISAF commanders, who, he said, assured him of their full support in fighting militants. “Army has launched operations against terrorists and has killed 2,100 terrorists during Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-I,” he added.

Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan while briefing the meeting urged K-P, Sindh and Balochistan provinces to exercise Article 245 of the Constitution to requisition the army. At present 10,000 army troops are deployed in the country but only the federal and Punjab governments have requisitioned the army.

PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that their concerns about a timeline and implementations of the National Action Plan have been accepted. “We suggested the federal government re-prioritise its policies and divert all funds for the action plan.”

MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar said these are extraordinary circumstances and they got surety from the concerned that special courts would not be misused against them. He said the Protection of Pakistan Act was unfortunately being used for political victimisation.

Overview of National Action Plan

Following is summary of the short-term National Action Plan against terrorism announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a televised address to the nation late Wednesday night:

1- Execution of convicted terrorists will continue

2- Establishment of special trial courts for two years for speedy trial of terror suspects

3- A commitment to ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country

4- Strengthening and activation of NACTA

5- Countering hate speech and extremist material

6- Choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations

7- Ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organisations

8-  Establishing and deploying a dedicated counter-terrorism force

9-  Taking effective steps against religious persecution

10- Registration and regulation of madrassas

11-  Ban on glorification of terrorism and terrorist organisations through print and electronic media

12- Administrative and development reforms in Fata with immediate focus on return of IDPs

13- Dismantling communication networks of terrorist organisations

14- Tangible measures against abuse of internet and social media for terrorism

15- Zero tolerance for militancy in Punjab

16- Taking the ongoing operation in Karachi to its logical conclusion

17- Empowering Balochistan government for political reconciliation with complete ownership by all stakeholders

18- Dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists

19- Formulation of a comprehensive policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees, beginning with registration of all unregistered illegal refugees

20- Revamping and reforming the criminal justice system, to strengthen counter-terrorism departments including granting of powers to the provincial CIDs to intercept terrorist communications

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2014.

Reader Comments (35)

  • Ardi
    Dec 25, 2014 - 8:10AM

    Enough of meetings, Now Action!!

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  • liaqat ali
    Dec 25, 2014 - 10:32AM

    I hope NS acts like Kamaml Ata turk to eliminate extremism in the country . Army is with him but I still doubt the sincereity of PMLN itself , PTI . JI and JUF . THESE ARE THE PARTIES TO WATCH OVER. If they stagahten their thinking and especially PTI promises not to play politics with the issue and NS acts like a leader then as a nation we can do it . Martial law or Musharraf is not the answer. We have seen his 9 years when only MMA flourished , if you know what I mean .

    Recommend

  • Liberal
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:08AM

    I am so amused by what Farooq Sattar had to say. If there’s justice, should be for all.

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  • Adnan
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:44AM

    That is a very comprehensive agenda coming out of the APC, it shows support from the entire political spectrum for this action. I just hope that we maintain this resolve through the coming months and years as we fight the taliban and their supporting infrastructure.

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  • Ahmed
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:44AM

    This could prove to be a historic speech. Short (15 minutes), to the point with specific action plan and with the battle lines drawn. Let us hope we see real action along the lines indicaated in the speech.

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  • A
    Dec 25, 2014 - 12:11PM

    We need ACTION NOW

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  • GreatGoingPak
    Dec 25, 2014 - 12:29PM

    @Adnan:
    I see that too. But don’t forget it’s like Kala Bagh Dam! Smaller Province can’t trust a armed force coming from the hometown of Politically Powerful province and not show a Biased in Judgement benefiting the Hometown Party. It has happened before, that’s why. Anyway, let’s trust it once again, with a keen eye, of course!

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  • GreatGoingPak
    Dec 25, 2014 - 12:32PM

    @Liberal: My last post was for you, sir! Not @Adnan

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  • FaiselH
    Dec 25, 2014 - 12:41PM

    Thank You General Raheel Sharif.
    You are a true Son of the Soil.
    Be Blessed Always.

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  • dou
    Dec 25, 2014 - 1:25PM

    The PMs body-language did not match his words. Lets hope his actions do.

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  • HSK
    Dec 25, 2014 - 1:31PM

    I really doubt the situational analysis of the masses who started believing that NS & ‘tolla’ has suddenly grown a spine along with other political parties to ascertain resolve for eliminating terrorism overnight. The whole show is lead and determined by Gen. Raheel alone and solely deserves the credit for whatsoever achievements to date.

    Democracy currently in Pakistan is a mere nemesis for the very word and concept of democracy.

    Recommend

  • Haroon
    Dec 25, 2014 - 1:50PM

    2,3,5,6,7,8,11,12,13,18,19 This & last 5yr Govt. accountable. Why not done before? When these lollipop’s stop and action taken? Who makes sure?

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  • Parvez
    Dec 25, 2014 - 2:07PM

    A big issue was made that they sat for 9 hours and worked to produce this……..9 hours of work in 19 months.

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  • liaqat ali
    Dec 25, 2014 - 2:39PM

    @GreatGoingPak:
    Lets remember that 3 out of 4 dictators belonged to the smaller provinces. And they were all in all what they wanted to do . And did nothing . All of them .

    Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Dec 25, 2014 - 2:50PM

    Ah and the 21st point
    21. We shall always support the likes of Hafeez and Lakhvi even though they are terrorists. Remember they are our terrorists!

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  • Inqliaab
    Dec 25, 2014 - 2:54PM

    @liaqat ali: Please don’t compare a great leader like Kamal Ataturk to a clown like NS, it’s insulting to Turkish people.

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  • drfaizanpervaiz
    Dec 25, 2014 - 3:03PM

    15- Zero tolerance for militancy in Punjab?? Means militancy in other provinces will be tolerable??

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  • Fouzia
    Dec 25, 2014 - 5:37PM

    My prayers for Nawaz Sharif.

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  • Hanif
    Dec 25, 2014 - 6:51PM

    Isn’t this all subjective, shouldn’t the action plans be objective?

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 25, 2014 - 7:19PM

    I wish good luck to entire nation and country’s civilian and military leadership but don’t believe that anything would change except that for few months peace would prevail to give some credit to leadership.

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  • Raza
    Dec 25, 2014 - 7:22PM

    about time. now act on these

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  • Ahmed
    Dec 25, 2014 - 7:39PM

    @Inqliaab: Nawaz Sharif is the elected leader of Pakistan. In insulting him, you are revealing a lack of respect for the people of Pakistan. And this lack of respect for the Pakistani people is typical of the complex-ridden babu class of Pakistan. Learn to have some pride in yourself and that will teach you how to respect the people of Pakistan. Ataturk was a dictator for whom lifting the average Turk from poverty was never even on the agenda.

    Recommend

  • OhYes!
    Dec 25, 2014 - 8:03PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Yes Sir! Pak Army deserve the credit! You’re right, bro!

    Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Dec 25, 2014 - 8:14PM

    Attack not only the terrorists but also at their roots . Their supporter are openly supporting them through mass media in one way or the other . It would be better to declair Pakistan a secular state without any hesitation . Religion is a choice of individual and not of a state .

    Recommend

  • F Khan
    Dec 25, 2014 - 8:56PM

    Every time we hear the word defining moment its turns out to be deafening moment. Hope this time it works.

    Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Dec 25, 2014 - 10:17PM

    Only with compassionate education, can we overcome hateful, greedy and destructive minds and find creative solutions for inner and outer peace and social harmony.

    Physical and psychic violence should be totally prohibited by law in families, schools, police stations and all state institutions.

    Terrorism, violence or extreme criminal behaviour patterns in Pakistan are the projection of a maltreated childhood and youth. It is absolutely necessary to educate our children……..anti-authoritarian, anti-violence and in emotional and physical security.

    Peace is the highest bliss………..!

    Recommend

  • Real Truth
    Dec 25, 2014 - 10:19PM

    @Inqliaab: Looks like you are still nursing the deep wounds inflicted by failure of Dharna and the umpire not showing up, hence this pathetic attitude!

    Recommend

  • Karachi 3
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:10PM

    Eliminate terrorism in this country.We all support you and and our brave armed forces

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Ramzan
    Dec 26, 2014 - 12:24AM

    Exterminate all the brutes. (Joseph Conrad)

    Recommend

  • Gauttum
    Dec 26, 2014 - 2:13AM

    Well I’s a sad situation in Peshewar, those people in Peshewar are al smart parents, white, clever childern and I always taught people from Peshewar are more intelligenter then the rest of other provinces. Terrorist attacks are on school boys. but I think that people feel during terrorist bored and start attacking innocents. Perhaps in the Pakstani media more focuse on how to mantain a peacefull environment and no weapons tolerance.

    Recommend

  • Inqliaab
    Dec 26, 2014 - 4:32AM

    @Ahmed: Elected? By whom? The ordinary citizen? Nope. The Tax payer? Nope. The army? Nope. Foreign agents? Maybe. Corrupt industrialists? Possibly. Self elected? Definitely.

    Recommend

  • jock
    Dec 26, 2014 - 7:58PM

    Amazing what the MQM had to say on all this: Wants martial law, is willing to supply vigilantes to fight militants, wants terrorists to be lynched in public. BUT won’t accept military courts, because of its inherent fascist nature. Even the PPP and the ANP, who have suffered the military courts during the MRD days have agreed to this. Cowards!

    Recommend

  • Ajay
    Jan 1, 2015 - 11:10AM

    @Dr.A.K.Tewari:
    Supporters can be traced back to powerful politicians and landlords.

    Recommend

  • Ajay
    Jan 1, 2015 - 11:12AM

    @Karachi 3:
    You are expecting too much from the very trouble makers from whom nothing can be expected beyond duplicity.

    Recommend

  • Naseer Bashir
    Mar 31, 2015 - 11:46PM

    All the steps are being taken to stop terrorism but the most important step still lack. The use of technology against terrorism and crimes. We are still living in 18th century. All over the world technology is being used to control the terrorism and crime. My generous advise being a security consultant to the higher authorities to use the technology and hire the technical experts who can join the National Action force to stop the terrorism.
    Best regards.
    Naseer BashirRecommend

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