ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has expressed the hope that the All Party Conference, to be held here on Monday, would adopt a resolution on a plan to cope with the problems of terrorism and extremism.
“We are committed to giving peace to the people of the country and expect the conference to adopt a unanimous resolution,” he told journalists on Sunday.He said that in the first part of the conference Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam would brief the political leadership on security situation. This will be preceded by introductory remarks by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.Chaudhry Nisar thanked political leaders for agreeing to attend the conference and said that four important leaders who were scheduled to go abroad put off their trips at his request. Despite some differences and bitterness, all the leaders demonstrated their love for the country, he added.
The conference has been delayed for a few months for various reasons. At one stage the government wanted to hold it on July 12 but could not do so. The government said it was because of non-availability of some political leaders, but it is learnt that non-preparation of a draft of a counter-terrorism plan which was to be shared with the political leadership was the reason for postponement.PTI chief Imran Khan had sought a separate meeting with the prime minister and the army chief before the conference and sources in the party claimed a few days ago that the government had promised to meet the demand.
In the middle of August the interior minister indicated that a framework of the national security policy would be ready by the end of the month.When asked if a separate meeting of Imran Khan with the political and military leadership had been held, Chaudhry Nisar only said: “All political leaders will meet the prime minister and the army chief at the conference.”He was not forthcoming when his attention was drown to media reports that PPP-Parliamentarians Chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim had not been invited to the conference and, therefore, the PPP might stay away from the event if the matter was not resolved.
The leaders of about a dozen political parties represented in parliament are expected to attend the conference. Besides Chaudhry Nisar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will be the only federal minister to attend the event. All provincial governors have also been invited.The interior minister said the government had been trying to plug the gaps in counter-terrorism activities. The National Counter-Terrorism Authority is being activated and the process for merit-based inductions in the authority has already been started with advertising for the vacant positions.
He said there was a plan to set up a joint intelligence secretariat and a rapid response counter-terrorism force which would also have night-vision helicopters. He expressed the hope that the situation would improve and peace would open up new avenues of development.About the situation in Karachi, Chaudhry Nisar said a number of identified extortionists and target killers had been arrested during dozens of Rangers-led operations over the past three to four days and a large quantity of arms and ammunition — bombs, repeaters and guns — had been seized.
He said most of those arrested claimed political affiliation, but it was a positive development that no political party reacted to their arrest.He said the decision to give powers to paramilitary Rangers was completely in accordance with the law. Their powers to arrest terrorists were already there and now they had also been given a role in investigation, he said, adding that police were part of the targeted operations.The interior minister said the army was already overstretched and it would be inappropriate to involve it in Karachi.
He said the complex law and order problem in Karachi could not be solved overnight. “It is not a twenty-20 match. It required a long overhaul which may take months if not years.”Chaudhry Nisar dismissed as baseless reports that many people had managed to flee to South Africa and Dubai and said the director general of Rangers said nothing of sort when he briefed the prime minister. He said the inspector general of Sindh police had been asked to take steps to revamp the force in one month. Steps are also being taken to strengthen Rangers.
He said ordinances would be promulgated at the federal and provincial levels to give more powers to security agencies. A legal committee headed by Zahid Hamid and comprising the prosecutor general of Sindh and Barrister Farogh Naseem of the MQM has been set up to prepare proposals in this regard.The committee will meet on Monday.He said that because of the heavy responsibility it had been decided that there would be no-off days in the interior ministry. Officers and staff in the ministry will work on rotation to clear the backlog. – Dawn