The federal government has decided to provide its full legal backing to security forces after military leadership voiced concern that lack of prosecution of terror suspects was undermining their efforts.
The assurance was given by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who along with his senior cabinet members visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi to review progress so far achieved in Zarb-e-Azb military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
“The meeting noted with concern that there is an issue of effectively prosecuting terrorists in the courts of law and terrorists are not getting convictions, which has negative impact on forces’ effort in war on terror. It was agreed that the forces will get full legal backing,” said a statement issued by the PM office.
Prime Minister Nawaz and federal ministers were received by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif while Director General Military Operation (DGMO) briefed them on the progress in operation.
It was for the first time in recent months that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar were all seen together against the backdrop of reported rifts within the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The reports even suggested that Chaudhry Nisar and Khawaja Asif were not on speaking terms but Thursday’s visit to the GHQ suggests that a rapprochement between the two might have taken place.
This was also the prime minister’s first visit to the GHQ since the start of the Zarb-e-Azb operation. The PM laid a floral wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada and paid rich tributes to the officers and jawans for their supreme sacrifice for the country.
Director General Inter-Services Intelligence, Chief of General Staff, Director General Military Intelligence, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations and Director General Budget also attended the briefing.
The PM expressed satisfaction over the progress, saying our forces are achieving the intended objectives at the desired pace. “The entire nation is behind our jawans fighting this battle for peace and stability in our country,” the statement quoted the PM as saying.
“The operation is meant to establish writ of the state. Chase of terrorists by armed forces and other law enforcement agencies and intelligence apparatus will continue till their annihilation,” he added.
The meeting noted with appreciation that today’s anti-terror operation in Lahore by police was based on a tip-off by an intelligence agency. Addressing the meeting, PM Nawaz said the army will be fully equipped and provided all requisite resources to fight this war.
He issued directions that damage assessment of the area should also be carried out for better and planned resource allocation for effective reconstruction and rehabilitation, the statement added.
In this regard, the PM said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) should fast-track verification process by employing additional manpower and equipment in Bannu for registration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The prime minister also appreciated Pakistan Army for providing security to the Chinese workers engaged in different projects across Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.