Leaving terror fight solely to army dangerous trend: PM

PM Shehbaz said all institutions and provincial governments were relying solely on armed forces to fight terrorism and absolving themselves of any such responsibility

By Ag App & Muhammad Anis
June 23, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairsa meeting of the central apex committee on the National Action Plan (NAP) on June 22, 2024. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday said all institutions and provincial governments were relying solely on the armed forces of Pakistan to fight terrorism and absolving themselves of any such responsibility.


“It is a dangerous trend that has developed in the last few years, and it would not help uproot the menace of terrorism completely from the country,” he said while chairing a meeting of the central apex committee on the National Action Plan (NAP) here. The meeting was attended by federal ministers, chief ministers of the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, services chiefs and chief secretaries of the provinces, besides other relevant authorities and personnel.

The premier said: “Pakistan’s armed forces have been shedding their blood for decades, offering unmatched and countless sacrifices”, adding that sustainable stability could not be ensured without a complete system and a whole of the government approach.

PM Shehbaz emphasized that the responsibility of combating terrorism lies with all, the federal and provincial governments as well as institutions, underscoring the need for a collective and coordinated approach to eradicate the menace from the country. “It is the joint responsibility of all of us to enforce the state’s accountability fully and without exception,” he added.

The PM said terrorism had plagued Pakistan in various ways for two-and-a-half decades. The problem of terrorism in Pakistan, he added, was very complex and there was a deadly relationship between terrorism and crime, drugs, trafficking, extremism and religious hatred.

He emphasized that stability and rule of law were essential for sustainable development in Pakistan. “A soft state can never win the confidence of investors, and a healthy and strong economy cannot be imagined in a country plagued by instability and terrorism,” he added.

He stressed that all law-enforcement agencies, ministries, federal and provincial governments and all institutions should jointly work to eliminate the menace of terrorism. After the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the PM pointed out, the provincial governments had a big role to play as they now receive all required resources in that regard. “We need harmony among all stakeholders including political and religious leaderships to put the country on the path to peace and prosperity,” the PM added.

For the war against terrorism, he said, “Political and religious leadership should make it clear in their minds that this is our responsibility to safeguard the future of our generations. Irrespective of all differences, we should take this responsibility and support our armed forces.” He said that “placing the responsibility solely upon a single institution will be a blatant mistake”.

Besides, he stressed that active diplomacy would also be required to take action against terrorist elements outside Pakistan. The PM also emphasized the need for legislative action to empower law-enforcement agencies, identifying the existing legal gaps as a major obstacle to effective counterterrorism operations. He also assured the Pakistan Army and Ministry of Interior to provide all possible resources and tools to support the war against terrorism.

PM Shehbaz Sharif dismissed the ongoing campaign against Pak-China relations as a baseless and malicious social media-driven dirty campaign, designed to destabilise the country. He said the Chinese leadership had countered the campaign through their statements, which showed how they gave importance to their relationship with Pakistan.

The prime minister also approved the operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ with consensus of all stakeholders to integrate and synergise multiple lines of efforts to combat the menaces of extremism and terrorism in a comprehensive and decisive manner.

The PM said the current campaign against extremism and terrorism would be duly complemented by socioeconomic measures, aimed at addressing genuine concerns of people and creating an environment that discourages extremist tendencies. The information space would be leveraged to promote a unified national narrative in support of the campaign.

The forum reiterated that the fight against extremism and terrorism was Pakistan’s war and was absolutely essential for the nation’s survival and well-being. The forum resolved that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state without any exception.

The forum conducted a comprehensive review of the ongoing counterterrorism campaign and assessed the internal security situation. Progress on multi-domain tenets of the National Action Plan was scrutinised, with particular emphasis on identifying shortcomings in implementation for addressing the same on top priority.

Separately, PM Shehbaz Sharif, ministers, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, and relatives attended the funeral service for Sepoy Haroon William, a 29-year-old resident of Islamabad, at Saint Paul’s Church, Rawalpindi, on Saturday. The sepoy, a devoted Christian soldier, made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland and embraced martyrdom in Kurram district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province the other day while on duty in counterterrorism operations.

The PM praised the contributions and sacrifices of the Christian fraternity, lauding their role in the country’s progress. He emphasized that the armed forces of Pakistan were a cohesive unit, comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds, striving for defence of the state.

Funeral prayers for Havaldar Aqeel Ahmed (Okara), Lance Naik Muhammad Tafeer (Poonch), Sepoy Anosh Rufun (Attock), and Sepoy Muhammad Azam Khan (Haripur) were also held in their respective hometowns with full military honours.