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Sunday February 25, 2024

Govt puts off APC on terrorism again

Information minister says APC rescheduled as PM Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Turkey tomorrow to condole with Turkish president over deadly earthquake

February 07, 2023
JUI-Fs Fazlur Rehman (from left to right), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPPs Asif Ali Zardari speak during a press conference in Islamabad, on March 28, 2022. — AFP/ file
JUI-F's Fazlur Rehman (from left to right), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPP's Asif Ali Zardari speak during a press conference in Islamabad, on March 28, 2022. — AFP/ file

The federal government again put off its all parties conference (APC) scheduled for February 9, as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will pay a solidarity visit to quake-hit Turkey.

The change to the APC schedule for the second time in two days was announced by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.

A cataclysmic earthquake of a 7.8-magnitude hit southern parts of Turkey and neighbouring Syria on Monday, killing over 4,800 people and injuring innumerable people and flattening thousands of buildings in tremors that were felt as far as Iraq, Egypt and other surrounding territories.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the information minister said PM Shehbaz would be traveling to Turkey to condole with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the deadly earthquake that devastated the country.

"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Ankara tomorrow morning, he will express his condolences to the Turkish president and to the people of Turkey over the destruction caused by the earthquake and the loss of life," Aurangzeb wrote on Twitter.

Aurangzeb said that the APC had been called off due to the PM's visit to Turkey. A new date for the moot will be announced after consultations with the government's allies, she added.

This is the second time that the APC, called to find solutions to the daunting challenge of terrorism and other crises in the country, has been postponed by the government.

Initially, the APC was scheduled to take place on February 7 and the date was changed to February 9.

APC to be reconvened after NACTA, agencies' reports: sources

On Monday, sources had told The News that the National Counter Terrorism Authority Pakistan (NACTA) had been asked to submit detailed reports on some sensitive issues while input from other agencies — regarding certain aspects of the new wave of terrorism — was also awaited.

As soon as the required material is ready for consideration, the APC will be called again, they had added. 

The sources had reiterated that a decision had yet to be taken to undertake another operation for the elimination of terrorism since its fiscal implications and other relative aspects were to be discussed in Monday's meeting of the cabinet before an ultimate decision was taken.

The sources said that officials were of the view that no action should be taken in a haphazard manner and haste but it must be on a firm footing. 

The meeting was planned to be held at the Prime Minister's House, but now its rendezvous had been shifted to Parliament House. The decision of changing the venue had been taken to make it comfortable for any party that found it difficult to turn up to PM House. 

Terrorism a matter of national urgency: Sanaullah

Earlier, talking about the change in the date of the APC, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that the government had decided to hold the multi-party conference on February 9 to allow all parties to participate in the moot.

Speaking during Geo News programme 'Geo Pakistan', Sanaullah had stated that terrorism was "a matter of national urgency for which all parties should carve out a solution".

"After general consensus in the APC, the government will take action against the menace of terrorism," said the minister.

The minister, while castigating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan over his new movement initiated to give the PDM government a tough time, said that Khan's 'jail bharo tehreek [fill the prison movement]' would fail like his past movements.

Sanaullah had also referred to the hardships he faced during incarceration and stated that the PTI chairman does not know how it is difficult to stay in a prison cell.

"The only aim of Imran Khan is to create chaos in the country and he will eventually fail," Sanaullah had added.