Elections seem less likely as NSC announces anti-terror operations

• Organized to make suggestions; Rest to be re-sent off in a fortnight
• Gathering avoids faulting PTI system for psychological militants’ return
• Serve says political decision was not on the plan at key security cluster

ISLAMABAD: Friday, the top civil and military leadership reaffirmed their commitment to thwart terror threats and pledged to re-launch the National Action Plan (NAP) within 15 days to crush militants reportedly coming from Afghanistan amid a contentious political debate regarding the conduct of elections in Punjab in the middle of May.

They agreed to launch new multi-pronged and comprehensive operations as well as coordinated efforts on the diplomatic, security, economic, and social fronts for the elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, without directly blaming the previous PTI government for the resurgence of terrorism in tribal districts along the border with Afghanistan.

Within two weeks, a committee established for the purpose would present its recommendations for putting the policy into action and defining its parameters.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), at which the decisions were made. The meeting was attended by members of the federal cabinet, chief ministers of four provinces, and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Asim Munir, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Baber, and Naval Chief Admiral Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi.

Two days after the government categorically refused to implement the court order regarding the May 14 elections, the NSC’s decisions to launch a large-scale operation may further diminish the likelihood of elections in Punjab.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that the government wanted to pit the country’s armed forces against the nation, not the judiciary, when he made comments about the NSC meeting.

While speaking with Dawn, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that the holding of elections in Punjab was not on the agenda of the NSC meeting, which is why the matter was not discussed in the huddle of the civil and military leadership. However, she confirmed that within 15 days, a new NAP-like operation against militancy would begin.

Similar plans had previously been implemented in the country during the PML-N’s previous administration in 2014 and the Musharraf administration in 2002.

Fear mongers’ return

An authority public statement gave by the PM Office said, “NSC endorsed a multi-pronged extensive activity with the backing of the public authority and the country to kill the danger of psychological warfare from the country with another purpose, assurance and boldness”.

The committee stated, “The recent wave of terrorism was the result of the soft corner and the absence of a well-thought-out policy against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which was declared a terrorist organization but, contrary to public expectations and wishes, was allowed to return without any hindrance under the previous policy.” Dangerous TTP terrorists were released from prison “in the name of building confidence,” it noted.

The official announcement stated, “It was noted that due to the return of dangerous terrorists and support for them from various terrorist organizations from Afghanistan, peace and stability, which was the result of innumerable sacrifices and continuous efforts, was affected.”

Following the fatal terrorist attack on the Peshawar Police Lines on January 2, 2023, the 41st meeting of the security committee was held.

While stressing extensive public safety, it was announced that ‘alleviation to individuals’ was of focal significance. The government was reportedly implementing measures in this regard, according to the forum. The gathering likewise recognized the penances and endeavors of the security powers for guaranteeing extremely durable harmony for the country.

The NSC reaffirmed its determination to operate until Pakistani terrorism is eradicated.

Additionally, the committee stated that foreign-sponsored poisonous propaganda against state institutions and their leadership was being spread on social media in order to achieve hidden goals, and that these efforts were affecting national security. The committee also strongly condemned the growing hostility and division in society.

The National Security Council (NSC) stated that every effort would be made to maintain the peace that was achieved through the supreme sacrifices and persistent efforts of the martyrs while expressing its determination to foil the heinous plans of the adversaries.

At its meeting in January, the NSC had reaffirmed its determination to have “zero tolerance” for terrorism.

Published on April 8, 2023, in tdtv.cam

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