Abrar Saeed and Imran Ali Kundi

ISLAMABAD - Terming victory the only option in the war against terror, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the nation has isolated terrorists with its unity while swift implement of the National Action Plan on counter-terrorism would flush terrorists out once and for all.

The prime minister chaired a high-level follow-up security meeting on the implementation of the National Action Plan here at the PM’s House on Tuesday. In his opening remarks, he said that the government would show zero tolerance toward militancy as they could not betray the martyrs who had laid down their lives in this war to secure the future generations.

“We have singled out militants with our unity and now with the same spirit the nation will root them out from the motherland,” the PM said, adding that the killers of innocent children, common citizens and Jawans of security agencies did not deserve any mercy.

Prime Minister Nawaz said that establishment of military courts is part of the National Action Plan (NAP). “Special courts will hear the cases of accused involved in the killings of children, citizens and army personnel,” he announced. He said only cases related to hardcore terrorists responsible for mass murder would be referred to these courts.

“Special courts are an extraordinary solution of an extraordinary problem. All institutions will carefully scrutinise cases before prosecution in the special military tribunals. The national plan is a manifestation of national consensus and we will ensure its swift implementation,” he added.

The PM said the government would ensure immediate and complete implementation of NAP, and all parliamentary parties would be taken into confidence.

The Attorney General of Pakistan briefed the PM over proposed constitutional amendments and other legal points. The participants of the meeting exchanged views over 20 points of the anti-terrorism agenda announced by the prime minister in his address a few days ago. The meeting also reviewed actions being planned to block terror financing and breaking the terror communication network. Progress on action against illegal SIMs also came under review.

PM Nawaz, in his remarks, said, “We have isolated terrorists with our unity and will make sure that we remain united against those who killed the innocent children.” He said their fight was with the forces of hatred, violence and intolerance. “We can’t betray our martyrs by giving a picture of disunity and we shall win this fight as a nation… our future and ultimate objective is a peaceful and secure Pakistan and our armed forces have paved the way for it through operation Zarb-e-Azb.”

Federal ministers for defence, finance, information, interior, planning and Safron, the KP governor, PM’s Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, ISI DG Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, the DGMO, the interior secretary and other senior government officials attended the meeting.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the first meeting of a committee constituted by the PM under his head to recommend ways and means to choke finances for terrorists and terrorist organisations. The sub-committee discussed all relevant issues and impediments with regard to investigation and information gathering about funding of terrorist activities.

The meeting was attended by representatives of ministries of finance, foreign affairs, interior, and officials of FBR, SBP, SECP, Nacta, security agencies and legal consultants. The participants said that impediments concerning investigation and information gathering about funding of terrorist activities had negatively impacted the process for award of exemplary sentences to terrorists.

The meeting especially discussed the aspect of terrorist funding under the garb of charities, emphasising fresh registration and foolproof monitoring of all such organisations. The meeting expressed deep concern over drug trafficking, which was the main source of terror funding. The meeting also laid emphasis on coordination with international agencies to curb financing for acts of terror.  

The meeting also observed that law-enforcing personnel lacked proper training and knowledge to track/investigate terrorist financing channels.

Further, there was no system to maintain consolidated data on prosecutions carried out by the law-enforcing agencies, which could be shared by these agencies for investigation. The absence of proper legislation to regulate and monitor the NGOs working in the country added to the problems faced by the security agencies and investigators, the participants noted.

The finance minister said, “Most importantly, we need coordination between the federal and provincial governments and agencies to deal with the problem of terrorist financing. We also need cooperation from the general public to address this problem.” He underlined the need to promote legal channels for transfer of money within and outside the country and added it would completely discourage hawala and hundi system.

Dar remarked that in the current scenario Nacta should assume the leading role in gathering and consolidation of data for use by the law-enforcing agencies. He said Nacta should be proactive in countering terrorism and clearly state the help it requires in undertaking its official obligations. He also asked the participants to peruse the world best practices and laws while finalising their proposals on combating financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations.

The participants put forth remedial measures to check terror financing, describing mechanism for their effective implementation. The minister appreciated fruitful deliberations and urged for finalising practicable recommendations which would be presented to the prime minister.