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January 13, 2018

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No terror sanctuaries in Pakistan: PM

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has made it clear that it has achieved remarkable success against terrorism and there exists no "so-called sanctuaries" for them on its soil.

Articulating Pakistan’s position on Friday here, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said while addressing participants of the National Security and War Course at the National Defence University (NDU) that the tide has turned against terrorists and their capacity to conduct activities has been immensely crippled. The prime minister said the state is fully conscious of the challenges relating to national security as it is tackling both internal and external problems. He reminded that Operation Raddul Fasad against terrorists is underway to purge the society from sleeper cells and sympathisers of extremists.

The prime minister said there had been a paradigm shift not only from state-centric focus to societal security concerns, but also in the concept and understanding of national security. Prime Minister Abbasi said the current security environment is increasingly fluid and is shaped by a dynamic mix of continuing and emerging challenges and opportunities.

Congratulating the course graduates, the prime minister called upon them to take steps in complimenting the national response against the threats faced by the country.

He appreciated the contribution of NDU in refining and defining national security concepts of the participants and enabling civilian policy-makers to acquire a better understanding of issues concerning national security.

Later, Prime Minister Abbasi gave away certificates among the graduates of the course. The graduation ceremony marked the culminationof National Security and War Course which had commenced last August and was attended by 29 selected participants from Civil Service of Pakistan along-with members of the armed forces. The main focus of the course was to enable its members to comprehend the interplay of all elements of national power in contrast of a comprehensive national security. It was emphasised that Pakistan's current challenges warranted a national security response through a 'whole of the nation' approach. The event was attended by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmoud Hayat, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, National Security Adviser Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua and other military and civil officials.

Meanwhile, addressing an impressive ceremony here for contract signing of broadband for sustainable development projects in Fata and Dera Ismail Khan, Prime Minster Abbasi said e-services are a rapidly evolving field and could provide health, education and business opportunities to the people in remotest areas of the country. At a later stage, he said, it could also help in e-voting and cutting down the cost of holding elections.

Host of the ceremony, Minister for Information Technology (IT) Anusha Rehman reminded that Universal Services Fund (USF) is providing information and communication technology (ICT) training to young girls at government schools in Islamabad through 226 computer labs. She said Microsoft would train 202 teachers who would impart training to over 70,000 girls.

Prime Minister Abbasi in his address asked the Ministry of Information Technology to ensure reliable and cheap broadband connectivity across the country, particularly in the remote areas, to ensure spread of digital facilities to the common man. He commended the initiative and said it would help bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas by providing modern facilities to the people at their doorsteps. The project for provision of telecom services to the un-served areas was being implemented by the USF, working under the Ministry of Information Technology. After the launch of the 3G and 4G services, it has provided internet service to 5,896 villages. The new contracts would enable it to extend these services to Khyber, Mohmand and DI Khan at a cost of Rs3.5 billion and facilitate over four million people in 1,187 villages. He tasked the Ministry of Information Technology to complete the project in next four months and provide connectivity at affordable rates.

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