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Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
16 Muharram 1446  

PM Shehbaz gives nod to reinvigorated counter-terrorism campaign: ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’

It will integrate multiple lines of effort to combat menaces of extremism in ‘comprehensive’ manner
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over the Central Apex Committee on National Action Plan in Islamabad on June 22, 2024. PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over the Central Apex Committee on National Action Plan in Islamabad on June 22, 2024. PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the apex committee in Islamabad on June 22, 2024. Screengrab via PTV News
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the apex committee in Islamabad on June 22, 2024. Screengrab via PTV News

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved on Saturday a reinvigorated national counter-terrorism campaign by launching the operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ as the South Asian country deals with the rise in terrorist attacks.

“Azm-e-Istehkam will integrate and synergise multiple lines of effort to combat the menaces of extremism and terrorism in a comprehensive and decisive manner,” , according to a statement issued after the Central Apex Committee on National Action Plan (NAP) in Islamabad.

It was approved with the consensus of all stakeholders including provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision “symbolises the national resolve” to eradicate extremism and terrorism from the country.

PM Shehbaz presided over the meeting. Key ministers of the federal cabinet, chief ministers of all provinces and AJK and GB, services chiefs, and chief secretaries of the provinces, along with other senior civilian, military, and law enforcement agencies officers, attended the meeting.

The forum reviewed the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign and assessed the internal security situation. The progress on the multi-domain tenets of the NAP was scrutinised, with particular emphasis on “identifying shortcomings” in the implementation for addressing the same at top priority.

They called for a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy based on complete national consensus and system-wide synergy.

The forum also decided that efforts would be intensified to curtail the operational space for terrorists through regional cooperation.

“The renewed and full-blown kinetic efforts of the armed forces will be augmented by full support from all law enforcement agencies, empowered by effective legislation to address legal voids that hinder effective prosecution of terrorism-related cases and award of exemplary punishments to them,” it said.

The campaign would be duly complemented by socioeconomic measures aimed at addressing the “genuine concerns” of the people and creating an environment that discourages extremist tendencies.

It added that the information space would be leveraged to promote a unified national narrative in support of the campaign.

The forum reiterated that the fight against extremism and “terrorism is Pakistan’s war and is absolutely essential for the nation’s survival and well-being.” The forum resolved that “no one will be allowed to challenge the writ of the state without any exception.”

They also reviewed measures to ensure foolproof security for Chinese nationals in Pakistan. Following the premier’s approval, new standard operating procedures (SOPs) were issued to relevant departments.

Combatting terrorism, not one institution’s job: PM Shehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for coordination among all stakeholders in the fight against terrorism, saying that it was not one institution’s job.

“We must all come together to eradicate terrorism,” the premier said while addressing the apex committee meeting for the National Action Plan on Saturday where he addressed pressing issues facing the country.

“Coherence and coordination among all stakeholders, including political leadership and religious scholars, are crucial in this fight for our survival.”

His address comes a day after five soldiers were martyred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kurram when an improvised explosive device exploded on the security forces vehicle.

It was a second such incident this month after seven soldiers, including a captain, were martyred in the province’s Lakki Marwat district.

While highlighting the national security concerns, the prime minister emphasised the urgent need for effective governance and the rule of law to ensure sustainable development. He acknowledged that the challenge of terrorism has plagued Pakistan for the past two and a half decades, with the country facing multifaceted threats from extremism, smuggling, and hate.

PM Shehbaz praised the sacrifices made by the Pakistan Armed Forces in safeguarding the nation, stating: “We are engaged in a battle to protect our future generations.” He underscored the necessity of strengthening law enforcement agencies to tackle the complex issue of terrorism.

“The war against terrorism is our war for survival,” he said and added that it was not a fight against any external entity, but rather a battle to protect future generations.

The premier called for a “thorough and consultative process” to address the challenge, underscoring that it would be a mistake to leave the responsibility solely with one institution. “We all must take ownership of the state’s responsibility.”

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He vowed to provide comprehensive resources to the country’s security apparatus. “We will ensure that our security agencies are fully funded and equipped to address the challenge of terrorism.”

While expressing confidence in the provincial governments’ role in countering terrorism, the premier said: “We expect the provinces to play a robust part in combating the menace of terrorism.”

He recognised the transnational nature of the terrorism threat and emphasised the importance of active diplomacy with regional countries to restrict the space for terrorist organizations.

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Shehbaz Sharif

terrorism

Prime Minister

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif