ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) was the foremost priority of his government and formed expert working groups to ensure seamless coordination and implementation of every aspect of the plan.
Chairing the first-ever meeting of the National Internal Security Committee at the Prime Minister's Office, Khan reiterated that Pakistan was firmly committed to prevent militant groups from operating in the country or use its territory for any militant activity within or outside Pakistan.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi.
Other participants included Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt-Gen Asim Munir, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), federal secretaries, chief secretaries and police chiefs of all provinces, provincial secretaries and other senior officials.
Khan recounted the various legislative and administrative measures taken by his government to deal with militancy and to combat terror financing, money laundering and hawala-hundi. He stressed the need for continued and sustained on-ground efforts to take the struggle against these crimes.
"Pakistan has suffered immensely, both in terms of human lives as well as material losses, due to the menace of terrorism. As a result of the immense sacrifices rendered by the armed forces, intelligence agencies, police, and other law-enforcement agencies, we have made significant progress towards combating terrorism and ensuring peace," Khan said.
Khan said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government remains committed to removing all impediments in the implementation of NAP. "It [NAP] is reflective of the will of nation and a consensus document agreed upon by all political parties of the country. The government is committed to remove all impediments towards implementation of the plan in letter and spirit."
Finance Minister Asad Umar gave an update about matters related to the Financial Action Task Force and the recent meetings held with the Asia Pacific Group. Interior Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman apprised the meeting about the progress in NAP implementation, cybersecurity, money laundering, and madrasa reforms.
Meanwhile, sources said, Foreign Minister Qureshi met the prime minister at his office. During the meeting, Khan directed Qureshi to remove opposition's reservations regarding the NAP implementation and give briefing to the opposition leaders on the plan at any place they wanted.
The prime minister also directed the foreign minister to carry forward the consultation and renew contacts with the opposition on the extension of the tenure of military courts. Qureshi informed the prime minister that he was prepared to give a briefing to the opposition in parliament or even in the chamber of the opposition leader in the National Assembly.
The sources said that the foreign minister also apprised Khan about his contacts with the oppostion regarding appointment of the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The Prime Minister's Office has already written letter to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for consultation on the appointment of ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan.
Previously, the letter was written by the foreign minister, which the opposition declined to entertain. Now, the prime minister has proposed the names of Amanullah Baloch, Munir Kakar and Naveed Jan Baloch from Balochistan and Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, Farrukh Zia and Shaikh Iqbal Mehmood from Sindh.
Separately, in an interview later, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that NAP reflected the national spirit and resolve of the country and concerted efforts were needed to continue working on it to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country.
Qureshi said the Indian high commissioner was called to the foreign office and preliminary findings of Pakistan were shared after examining the Indian report on the Pulwama incident. "Had the Indian government not demonstrated aggressive behaviour, problems in post-Pulwama scenario would have been resolved in a better way through dialogue and engagement," he said.
Responding to a question regarding Afghanistan, Qureshi said the statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding interim setup was quoted out of context. "Afghanistan is a sovereign state and Pakistan does not want to interfere in its internal affairs," he said.