ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed concern over militants’ capacity to mount attacks despite military operation in north-western areas of the country and intelligence-based operations almost across the whole country.
He chaired a meeting yesterday which reviewed both the internal and external security challenges facing the country with specific focus on the terrorist attacks in the recent past.
Political and military leadership reiterated their resolve to weed out menace of terrorism from the motherland, saying that sporadic terrorist attacks could not deter their determination.
Government sources said the prime minister expressed his concern over the unending militant attacks and stressed the need for taking proactive measures and improving the security through efficient and effective intelligence and better coordination between the law enforcement agencies.
The participants of the meeting strongly condemned the blast that targeted a bus carrying government officials in Peshawar on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and injuring 53 others.
Lashkar-e-Islam, a militant group allied with the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility saying the attack was carried out to avenge a military court’s sentencing of 13 militants to death on Tuesday.
Last week, on March 12, Taliban gunmen shot dead an army officer near Ring Road in Peshawar. Lieutenant Colonel Tariq Ghafoor was returning home after offering Friday prayers in a nearby mosque in posh area of Hayatabad Phase VI when he was ambushed by bike-riding attackers.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and ISI Director General Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhter informed the meeting participants about the achievements made by the armed forces in flushing out the militants from tribal areas, especially decimating of their hideouts in the difficult mountain terrain in Shawal area.
While reviewing the progress on the ongoing military operation, it was noted with satisfaction that the operation has made significant gains. The participants reaffirmed their firm resolve to root out the scourge of terrorism and extremism from the country.
The COAS and ISI DG also informed the participants on the progress made on the rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons of North Waziristan Agency, where majority of the people have returned to their homes and infrastructure and other facilities have been restored.
The prime minister on the occasion said that the rehabilitation process will have to be paced up meaningfully as it was essential to consolidate the gains made by the armed forces.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that ample funds have been made available for the rehabilitation process and so far the federal government had distributed Rs17 billion in cash among the IDPs, besides providing them with the wheat supply of around Rs20 billion.
He further informed the meeting that in all Rs80 billion were allocated for the resettlement of the IDPs to their homes and if required more funds would also be made available.
The meeting was also attended by Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, SAPM Tariq Fatemi and other senior officials of the government.
According to a TV channel, the meeting also addressed the controversial exit of former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf from the country.
“The military brass appreciated the role played by PM Nawaz and federal ministers for removing the former military dictator’s name from the Exit Control List,” it said quoting an unnamed government source.