Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday constituted 21 committees to devise a roadmap for the implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism and set them a 72-hour deadline to complete their respective tasks.
Chairing a high-level consultative meeting at the Prime Minister’s House to take the government’s new anti-terror strategy forward, the premier set up a committee for each of the plan’s 20 points, sources privy to the developments told The Express Tribune. Each panel is to be headed by the concerned federal minister or bureaucrat, they said.
“All the committees have been given three days to submit their recommendations on implementing their respective points of the National Action Plan,” a government official said.
In addition to the 20 committees for each point of the plan, sources said Prime Minister Nawaz constituted one oversight committee headed by himself and comprising his special assistant Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch, and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz.
According to them, the function of this committee would be to ensure the “expeditious and effective implementation of the National Action Plan to wipe out terrorism and extremism from the country.” They said it would not only monitor the performance of the 20 other committees, but also contact other stakeholders to devise a mechanism for implementing the plan as well. Barrister Zafarullah will serve as the secretary of this committee, the sources added.
While addressing the meeting, Premier Nawaz vowed he would oversee the enforcement of the National Action Plan himself. “I am giving all members of my team days, not weeks, to gear up for this war against terrorists,” he said.
He will chair another meeting on the implementation of the plan today (Saturday), according to sources.
Amendment for military courts
In Friday’s meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz directed Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt to immediately consult politicians from leading political parties to finalise necessary constitutional amendments to set up military courts in the country, an official statement said.
Sources said representatives of the law minister also made a commitment to the premier that the committee made up of constitutional experts from political parties will finalise its draft by Monday evening. The committee, which comprises AGP Butt, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Hamid Khan, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Aitzaz Ahsan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Farogh Naseem, Barrister Zafarullah and Khawaja Zaheer Ahmed, will then hand over the draft to the prime minister.
In addition to working out the necessary constitutional reforms for military courts, the law ministry has also been tasked with proposing laws to counter all aspects of terrorism and extremism, including coverage by media and propagation of hate material.
“Laws will be made stringent to stop printing and publication of hate material promoting sectarianism,” the prime minister said at the meeting. “Legislation to stop the glorification of terrorists on all forms of media will be prepared immediately.”
About media regulations how to tackle terrorism PM said that legislation to stop glorification of terrorists on all forms of media may be prepared immediately.
Other tasks discussed in the meeting
During the meeting, the prime minister tasked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with preparing a roadmap to throttle the finances of terrorist organisations, sources said.
He assigned the task of monitoring FIA’s operations towards this end to the finance ministry and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The premier also directed the ‘immediate deployment’ of the proposed Federal Counter-Terrorism Force. He said the federal government would fulfill the operational requirements of this force while the defence ministry would provide the necessary technical support.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, meanwhile, was asked to present a plan to register illegal Afghan residents in Pakistan.
The prime minister also said the government will make the forced marriage of young girls from minority communities a punishable offence. “This is religious persecution, which is unacceptable,” he said.
While addressing the meeting, Premier Nawaz said the “irreversible process of eliminating terrorism from Pakistan has begun.”
“I will go to each and every province, meet their governments and law enforcement and intelligence agencies to supervise the implementation of this action plan [against terror],” he said. “I will make sure that the implementation is swift and effective,” he added.
“Now that we have historic national consensus, let’s proceed with our national duty.”
Nawaz said Pakistan was a ‘changed place’ in the aftermath of the Peshawar tragedy. “We assembled here with iron-clad resolve to weed out terror from our land,” he said. “Violence in any form against my people equals terror… [and] we shall come down heavy on it.”
“We will not let the memory of Peshawar fade away,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2014.