NSC meets again amid enormous challenges

Will take crucial decisions on economic crisis, rising terrorism


Kamran Yousaf January 02, 2023
PM Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting in Islamabad. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD:

The National Security Committee (NSC) is meeting again on Monday (today) to take crucial decisions on the economic crisis and rising terrorism.

The high-powered NSC was given a detailed briefing on economy, terrorism and Afghanistan on Friday but no final decision was taken on how to tackle these issues. Therefore, the meeting had been convened again on Monday to continue deliberations.

The civil and military leadership was briefed on the current economic challenges and the way forward. There was consensus in the meeting that Pakistan had to revive the IMF programme in order to avoid a potential default. The country's foreign reserves had come down to $5.8 billion. Another payment of $1.1 billion was due this week meaning the reserves would dip further.

Against this backdrop, army chief General Syed Asim Munir on Saturday said, “Pakistan is passing through one of her most critical junctures and this requires development of national consensus by all stakeholders to sail through the confronted challenges of economy and terrorism.”

The NSC is expected to approve measures to counter the renewed threat posed by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

According to sources, consensus had emerged between the civil and military leadership that Pakistan would no longer seek direct talks with the banned TTP.

The decision was taken during the NSC meeting held on Friday. There had been realisation in the meeting that the policy to hold direct talks with the TTP was wrong and failed to produce the desired results. As a result of which now all stakeholders decided that no direct talks would take place with the TTP.

Also read: Economy in trouble but won’t default, NSC told

The concerns of Pakistan would be conveyed to the Afghan Taliban on the issue instead of holding direct talks with the TTP.

The same policy was pursued by other countries, including the US and China. Similarly, the Afghan Taliban would be told in clear terms that the TTP was Pakistan’s red line.

The Kabul regime would be given an opportunity to eliminate the TTP sanctuaries. However, in case of a failure, Pakistan would contemplate the option of cross-border raids targeting the TTP hideouts across the border.

While the civil and military leadership had decided to take a tough line against the Afghan Taliban government, Islamabad would continue to seek engagement with Kabul. The NSC expressed concerns over the border clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan but it was told that the issue was local and could be dealt with better coordination and using proper communication channels.

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