We all know that, essentially speaking, security is a major threat, indeed the most major threat, to our country and its sanctity. The prime minister’s visit to the ISI headquarters goes to show he is aware of this, and ready to take every possible measure to work with all those involved in battling militancy and other forms of violence.
Mian Nawaz Sharif has become the first prime minister in years to visit the ISI headquarters and this, in itself, is a bold initiative. It comes ahead of the all-parties conference, that will soon be called on national security, and Prime Minister Sharif and his team clearly hope the briefing they received will help them devise a strategy, which will be effective in improving the security nightmare we currently face.
Details of the meeting itself have not yet been revealed publicly. Both civilian and military officials say that the information is too sensitive to be put out openly.
However, we do know that Prime Minister Sharif, accompanied by a powerful PML-N team, which for unknown reasons, included Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as well, received a detailed account from the ISI Director General Lt-General Zaheerul Islam regarding various matters with key relevance to security and all that it involves.
The presence of Chief Minister Shahbaz at the session needs to be explained by the PML-N.
The general reports that are coming out of Islamabad following the unusual meeting suggest that things went well. Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was also present during the discussions held and, no doubt, contributed to them.
As a new national security policy is framed, this cooperation between the civilian set-up and the military establishment, as well as the agencies, is crucial to finding any solutions to militancy and terrorism in our country.
Only if a united front is forged, can this be defeated. We must hope that the first steps towards this have now been taken and a platform built on which a structure for future working can be set up, and an agreement reached on how best to proceed against the militias that have tried to seize control of our state and aspects of life within it.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.
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