High-level huddle: Premier Nawaz mulls series of national security measures

Tensions with India, threats in Muharram, TTP’s allegiance with IS among issues discussed

Abdul Manan October 16, 2014


A high-level meeting on national security was held in the federal capital on Thursday to discuss various internal and external threats posed to the country and devise strategies to tackle them, an official handout said.

Although the handout did not add much about its agenda, sources told The Express Tribune that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid particular attention to tensions with India along Pakistan’s eastern frontier, the likelihood of terrorist activity in Muharram against the backdrop of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the announcement by certain Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and the implementation of the National Security Policy.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, army chief General Raheel Sharif, outgoing Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General (DG) Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam, his designated successor Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry attended the meeting, along with other senior civil and military officials.

Tensions with India

Sharing details of the meeting, sources said participants, while reviewing the tense situation with India along the LoC and the working boundary, agreed to raise the issue at all international forums. They said the Foreign Office was directed to effectively highlight ceasefire violations by India at all such platforms.

At least 12 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in ‘unprovoked’ firing on Pakistani territory by Indian forces.

While Pakistani officials have repeatedly said they have responded ‘befittingly’ to ceasefire violations by India, participants of the meeting also agreed that the tensions should be resolved through dialogue, according to sources.

Muharram and Operation Zarb-e-Azb

While reviewing possible threats in the month of Muharram – which starts on October 24 – participants of the meeting acknowledged it was hard to predict what sort of danger existed against the backdrop of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, sources said. They also said it was unclear whether or not militants would be able to launch attacks on Muharram processions in the wake of the ongoing military offensive in North Waziristan.

Chaudhry Nisar, meanwhile, briefed the meeting’s participants about steps his ministry has taken to ensure that peace is not disrupted during the month, the sources added.

TTP’s allegiance to IS

While pondering on the TTP’s recent announcement to pledge allegiance to the IS movement in Iraq and Syria, participants of the meeting agreed the move would spell trouble for the region.

However, according to sources, the participants pointed out that the local militants’ efforts to ally with IS was not organised and coordinated at this stage. This, they said, provided an opportunity to smash any possible IS foothold in the country. The participants added that failure to take solid steps in this regard would allow the TTP-IS nexus to organise itself.

National security policy

Sources said stakeholders have expressed their disappointment over the implementation of the National Security Policy.

Meanwhile, participants of the meeting also discussed other geostrategic, regional and global matters.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2014.


Ashwani Bharat | 8 years ago | Reply

there is no violence in Bharat during muharram. Shia and sunni living very peacefully with solidarity. But in Pakistan one or two year ago i had read that on the day of muharram pakistan administration blocks mobile networks in major cities to reduce the bomb blosting. I Think if our country had not been divided then there would have been peace and solidarity and stable democracy in pakistan area too. I love and have great affaction to my ancestor's land and sons that is known nowadays Pakistan and pakistani muslims.

Uza Syed | 8 years ago | Reply

Taliban like cancer is eating us away, Pakistan and us all must see and accept this harsh reality and must go for extreme measures, radical surgery is needed and must be done even deep scars are left and some disfiguring and mutilation might occur but it has to be done to eradicate the disease these terrorists the TTP are. We must destroy all these one or other factions of Taliban to ensure our survival, if do not then I'm afraid we would forced to deal with the greater menace that IS is.

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