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ISLAMABAD: The central apex committee on Friday declared that elimination of terrorism, economic recovery and political stability are interlinked and proposed formulating SOPs for media as well as social media while sharing “speculative” information with regard to counterterrorism operations.

The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, federal ministers including ministers for Finance, Interior, Information and Broadcasting, Law and Justice, chief ministers of all provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Heads of Civil and Military Intelligence Agencies, Secretary Interior, all chief secretaries, Inspectors General of Police of all provinces including AJK, GB and Islamabad and Coordinator National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), according to a statement of the PM Office.

It stated that the meeting agreed that the elimination of terrorism, economic revival and political stability were interlinked. “Since Pakistan cannot afford internal instability, national solidarity, unity and collective efforts are need of the hour,” it asserted. In order to achieve these targets, it added that national consensus should be evolved and hurdles in its way should be removed.

PM vows ‘zero tolerance’ to terrorism

During the meeting, it added that the terrorist incidents particularly the incident of Peshawar Police Lines Mosque of January 30, 2023 and Karachi Police Chief Office incident on February 19 and the later on situation were reviewed in detail.

The representatives of intelligence agencies briefed the participants on the overall security situation and on the action taken against the terrorists. Inspector General of Police Sindh informed about the details of the attack on the office of Karachi Police Chief. “Protection of national security and life and property of people was the basic constitutional responsibility which should be performed with national passion, sincerity, focus and the best of abilities,” it added. It further stated that the federal government would extend full cooperation and assistance to the provinces for fulfilling the responsibility of ensuring peace and security.

The meeting also deliberated upon the role of media, especially the social media during the incidents of terrorism and the military operations by security forces. “It was informed that that during operations of the security forces such kind of information is also telecasted from which terrorists and their facilitators can take benefit and that could have impacted the security operations, putting the lives of officers and jawans in danger,” according to the statement.

It added that it was proposed that guidance should be taken from the SOPs and regulations concerning cyber space and terrorism in other countries of the world. In this context, with the consultation of media houses and all relevant stakeholders, a suitable procedure should be followed so that in an emergency situation rumours, misleading information and fear among public could be stopped and there should be no difficulties in carrying out the military operations.

The participants also agreed that in case of an emergency situation, a focal person should be given the responsibility to disseminate facts to media and the public.

They also reviewed progress on the implementation of the National Action Plan and the decisions taken in the previous meeting of the apex committee.

A committee, headed by Federal Minister for Law and Justice, informed about the progress made in the investigation against terrorists, and in taking measures for making the process of prosecution and sentencing effective, it added.

The meeting saluted all the law enforcement agencies including armed forces, Rangers, Frontier Corps, Counter Terrorism Department and police for showing exemplary bravery and courage against terrorism and paid tribute to the martyred officers and jawans.

The participants considered the issue of non-availability of funds approved in the past for Karachi Police and security and directed that all obstacles in the ways of projects concerning police, counter terrorism department and security should be removed without any further delay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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