Islamabad - In his first public speech after being injured in an assassination attempt, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday praised the police and other security forces for their efforts in countering the menace of terrorism.

Speaking at the 31st passing out parade of the Counter-Terrorism Force at Police Lines, Iqbal highlighted the fact that a record budget has been allocated for the police in the upcoming year’s federal budget. He was discharged from the hospital earlier this week after being treated for nine days. He was proud of the security forces and also saluted the personnel martyred in the line of duty. “Those who die for their country are lucky,” he said. He further said that those embracing martyrdom in defence of the country are very lucky people and the nation is proud of their security agencies.

The minister said that ultimate victory against terrorism is yet to be achieved and everyone should be united to defend the country and the constitution. A total of 380 police officials and jawans passed in the first phase while 320 policemen are being trained in the second phase. The minister believed that the enemies are determined to weaken the nation from within and underlined the need to work towards uniting the people. He told the gathering that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism since decades.

The minister took credit for launching operations such as Radd-ul-Fasaad and Zarb-e-Azab to fight the menace of terrorism in the country. He was proud that the Pakistan of 2018 is much more secure than what it was in 2013. He said those fanning hatred are enemies of the country and the nation’s ultimate objective is to make Pakistan according to the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, free from extremism as well as terrorism.

The Interior Minister said that Pakistan has been facing terrorism since a number of years, schools and worship places had been targeted. The minister said that the government took effective steps after 2013 to get rid of this menace. Recounting improvement in the police performance, Iqbal noted that the first batch of riot police will pass out this year. He also said that the country has been the target of terrorists since a long time, but has finally been able to curb terrorism to a great extent. “We do not want to give our next generations a Pakistan where they have to live in fear,” he said and added “We can never hate anyone who carries a Pakistani identity card”. The minister said that the government has allocated Rs 2 billion in the budget 2018-19 for constructing a dedicated hospital for Islamabad police. He said there would be a separate hospital for Capital police where the employees could be provided with the best medical facilities.

IGP Sultan Azam Temuri speaking on the occasion said that 380 policemen passed in the first phase and 290 in the second phase which also included 28 police constables of Islamabad police including three women. The Minister appreciated the induction of women in Counter Terrorism Force Islamabad. The IGP requested the Minister to resolve the issue of salaries as committed by the Prime Minister. He said that CTF has been divided; keeping in view its functioning .He said that Rescue-15 centre connected with Islamabad Safe City Project would be inaugurated soon. He further said that training facilities in Islamabad are at par with the Dolphin force in Punjab and our personnel are very competent to handle tough situations. The IGP Islamabad Dr Sultan Azam Temuri welcomed the minister for his first interaction with Islamabad police after recovery and briefed him about various wings of Counter Terrorism Force. Chief Commissioner Islamabad Aftab Durrani and other senior officials of district administration and police were present on the occasion.

Later, a contingent of Islamabad police presented the guard of honour to the Minister for Interior who also congratulated SSP CTF Ameen Bukhari and other personnel. The IGP Islamabad presented a shield to the Minister on behalf of Islamabad police force.