Pakistan hopes India will play a more positive role and “respond to its legitimate security concerns” being the most important neighbour, said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday.
“We sincerely hope that the ongoing process of comprehensive engagement will be fruitful for dialogue with India which will not find Pakistan lacking will to write a new chapter in our bilateral relations,” said Premier Gilani, while concluding a three-day national seminar on ‘De-radicalisation’ organised by the Pakistan Army at Wadudia Hall of Swat University. Pakistan would like to resolve all outstanding issues with India peacefully, including that of Kashmir, he said.
“Elimination of extremism in Swat is a significant success,” said Gilani and added “the return and rehabilitation of 2.4 million displaced people within three months is an example of it.”
“Our intelligence agencies have led to apprehensions of hundreds of al Qaeda operatives and targeted their top leadership, said Gilani. The process of de-radicalisation of reconcilable detainees alone cannot pay dividends unless the hardcore category of apprehended terrorists is awarded exemplary punishment through an appropriate judicial mechanism,” he added.
Premier Gilani also stressed that ‘Anti-Terrorism Laws’ should be amended. “The Anti-Terrorism Act promulgated to tackle the law and order situation has no answer for the extraordinary situation Pakistan faces today,” he said. Ministries of Law and Justice and Interior, and the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have prepared a legal framework order to cope with militancy in the state, especially in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).
Bridging the gap
Premier Gilani said Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism need international recognition. A paradigm shift is needed to bridge the trust deficit between military and civilian institutions…without international pressure, he added.
Premier Gilani said drone attacks by the United States inside the country’s borders are in conflict with ground realities and have a negative impact on efforts to control radicalism.
Earlier, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reiterated that “There is no military solution to terrorism”.
The menace has to be tackled in the domain of national security which warrants a comprehensive response entailing synergy by all elements of national power, he added.
The army derives its strength from the people as it considers their support vital for its operations against terrorists, he said.
“Pakistan’s commitment to the war against al Qaeda and its affiliates is total and unwavering,” the army chief said.
“Images of armed militants moving freely has raised concerns regarding the army’s capabilities and resolve to fight militants,” Kayani conceded. However, he added that the Army has launched the largest insurgency operation against the militants to re-establish the writ of the state.
Various speakers expressed their views in the three-day seminar including Dr Maria Sultan, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Amir Muqam, and Major-General Javaid Iqbal.
Hussain said the national leadership has been in denial and is taking the convenient route of blaming problems on “international conspiracies”
The announcement of half-hearted policies such as police reforms or madrassas reforms have never been implemented, he said.
Giving a six-point agenda, Hussain added: “Intelligence Bureau should be dedicated to counter terrorism, and coordinating with the special branch in the provinces whose mission statement needs to be redefined to focus fully on this challenge.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.
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