PM calls for unified efforts to combat terrorism

Strong economy cannot be imagined in a country plagued by instability and terrorism, says Shehbaz Sharif


APP June 22, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif giving interview to Al Arabiya English. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday stated that combating terrorism is a responsibility shared by all federal and provincial governments and institutions. He highlighted the need for a collective and coordinated approach to eradicate this menace from the country.

“It is the joint responsibility of all of us to enforce the state’s accountability fully and without exception,” the prime minister said while addressing a meeting of the Apex Committee of the National Action Plan.

The meeting was attended by the chief ministers of all provinces, federal ministers, and senior military officers.

PM Shehbaz noted that terrorism had plagued Pakistan for over two and a half decades. He described the problem as complex, with a deadly relationship between terrorism, crime, drug trafficking, extremism, and religious hatred.

He stressed that stability and the rule of law are essential for sustainable development in Pakistan. “A soft state can never win the confidence of investors, and a healthy and strong economy cannot be imagined in a country plagued by instability and terrorism,” he added.

The prime minister criticised the tendency of provincial governments and institutions to rely solely on the Pakistan Armed Forces to fight terrorism, absolving themselves of responsibility. He warned that this trend would not help in completely uprooting terrorism from the country.

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“Pakistan’s Armed Forces have been shedding their blood for decades, offering unmatched and countless sacrifices,” he said, adding that sustainable stability could not be ensured without a complete system and whole-of-government approach.

The premier called for all law enforcement agencies, ministries, and federal and provincial governments to work together to eliminate terrorism. He pointed out that, following the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, provincial governments now have significant resources and a crucial role in this effort.

“We need harmony among all stakeholders, including political and religious leaders, to put the country on the path of peace and prosperity,” the prime minister added.

Shehbaz urged political and religious leaders to be clear that the fight against terrorism is crucial for safeguarding the future of Pakistan's generations.

“Irrespective of all differences, we should take this responsibility and support our armed forces,” he said, adding, “putting the responsibility solely on a single institution will be a blatant mistake.”

He also stressed the importance of active diplomacy to take action against terrorist elements outside Pakistan.

The prime minister emphasised the need for legislative action to empower law enforcement agencies, identifying existing legal gaps as a major obstacle to effective counter-terrorism operations. He assured the Pakistan Army and the Ministry of Interior of all possible resources and support in the fight against terrorism.

PM Shehbaz dismissed the ongoing campaign against Pak-China relations as a baseless and malicious social media-driven effort designed to destabilise the country. He noted that the Chinese leadership had countered this campaign through their statements, demonstrating the importance they place on their relationship with Pakistan.

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