Pending cases contributed to law, order issues: PM
Says he is not in favour of military courts; judiciary must deliver now; military court to hear Malala attack case; asks FBR to block funding of proscribed organisations
By our correspondents
January 15, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that pending cases in the courts contributed towards law and order issues.He said the independence of the judiciary is essential but it is equally important that it must show its performance. Talking to a delegation of the business community that called on him and President Mamnoon Hussain at the Presidency, the premier said cases of the attack on Malala Yousafzai and the mountaineers in the Northern Areas would be heard in the military courts. “We have to make Pakistan a secure and peaceful place for our future generations,” Nawaz said. The president and prime minister said on the occasion that strenuous and sincere efforts are being made to ensure a better and more secure future for the coming generations. They said despite the negative impact of the sit-ins, the government has worked really hard to put the economy on the right track. The president thanked the prime minister for appreciating his suggestion and holding a meeting with eminent traders and businessmen to provide an impetus to trade activities and further improve the economy of the country. He observed that the government is serious about improving the economy and promoting trade and commerce in the country. The president underscored the need for the traders and business community to takemaximum benefit from the policies of the government so that the economy is further stabilised and more and more job opportunities are created. The president said that law and order situation and energy shortages are the two major obstructions in the way of promotion of economic activities and the government is fully concentrating on addressing these issues. He assured the traders that these issues would be resolved at the earliest. The prime minister said energy shortage and terrorism are the two major issues facing the country but the government is not deterred by these challenges. He said the government is making every possible effort to address these issues. Nawaz said the decision to set-up military court has not been made by any dictator but by the democratic dispensation itself. He said he is not personally in favour of the military courts.The premier reiterated that the government is addressing energy-related issues of the domestic consumers and business community. He said power plants are also being set up in the county. “We want maximum production of electricity by 2017 so that the investors and business community could be assured that they have all the resources and energy to meet their requirements,” he said. The prime minister informed the delegation that it has been decided to lay gas pipeline from Gwadar to Nawabshah. “The pipeline would also be laid from Iran to Gwadar,” said the prime minister. He said work is underway speedily on construction of Karachi-Lahore Motorway and in this regard funds worth Rs55 billion have been released. He said China is interested in construction of Multan-Sukkur Motorway and negotiations are underway in this regard. He said Khunjrab-Gwadar Highway is also being constructed. He said speedy work is in progress to make Gwadar Port fully functional. He said these projects are very important for the country. The premier said despite difficulties the economy is moving on the right path and economic indicators are much better today as compared to the past. He said the foreign exchange reserves of the country have shore up to $15 billion. He said that the government is trying to further strengthen Pakistani currency. He said that had dharnas not been there, the economy would have been even better. Nawaz also directed chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to hold consultation meetings with the eminent traders and leading businessmen of the country and to present suggestions within next 10 days on possible reduction of taxes on various items. The prime minister assured the business community that he would visit Karachi in the coming few days and review law and order situation. He said he will also hold consultations with traders, industrialists and other segments of society in this regard. The prime minister said the new laws aimed at eliminating terrorism would be implemented in other parts of the country also. Meanwhile, chairing a meeting to review progress on the implementation on the National Action Plan (NAP) for elimination of terrorism at the Prime Minister House, the prime minister convened a meeting of chief ministers of all provinces next week to take comprehensive briefing from them on the implementation status of the plan. The meeting will be significant in the backdrop of the observation made by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan the other day that provinces are not proactively working for the implementation of the NAP, except Punjab. Nawaz said the government would take strict action against those found involved in glorification of terrorism and spreading hatred in any way.Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (DG ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar had meeting with the prime minister before the review meeting. The PM and DG ISI also discussed various aspects of terrorism and extremism and strategies to overcome them. The ISI chief has just returned from Afghanistan where he had meetings with Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani and his counterpart. Rizwan Akhtar had useful meetings and discussions with the Afghan leaders. He put up detailed report about his visit of Afghan capital and his meetings with the Afghan leaders. He expressed satisfaction about his interactions in Kabul. The review meeting was informed that cases have been registered against 341 persons involved in hate speech, out of which 251 have been formally arrested while 41 shops disseminating hate material have been sealed. The meeting was told that action has been taken against nearly 1,100 persons on the misuse of loudspeakers. Seminaries (Madaris) are also being closely monitored so that spread of terrorist ideology can be checked, while 95 proscribed organisations have been identified in Punjab which are still engaged in spreading terrorism and extremism. The prime minister asked the FBR to ensure that funding to proscribed organisations is stopped effectively. He also directed the Ministry of Information Technology to take steps for blocking websites and social media platforms being used by terrorist organisations. He said the federal government would provide all possible resources to the provincial governments but asked them to be proactive in this important matter. The prime minister said a state-of-the-art rapid response force is being formed to meet the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism. In his briefing, Chaudhry Nisar informed the prime minister that 180 miscreants have been picked up so far from various parts of Islamabad while 48 of them have been formally arrested. Similarly, in Punjab, 14,000 suspects have been picked up out of whom 780 have been formally arrested and they are under investigation. He informed the meeting that some of the proscribed outfits are still working under other names. Other participants of the meeting included Minister Information Pervaiz Rashid, Secretary to PM Javaid Aslam, Special Adviser to PM Barrister Zafarullah, Political Secretary to PM Dr Asif Saeed Kirmani, Secretary Interior Shahid Khan, Tariq Mahmood Khosa and Attorney General Salman Butt.