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Cabinet okays new body to fight terror

29 November, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill to set up 'National Anti-Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) for better coordinating efforts to defeat the menace of terrorism in the country.

Federal Information Minister and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media at a briefing after the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, that the body was needed for policy making and coordination between various stakeholders to fight the mindset of terror.

"The unique feature of this authority would be to carryout research coupled with the consultation between various institutions to fight against the evil of terrorism," Kaira pointed out.

He said the need for establishment of has been felt for a long time and said it would "devise policies and improve coordination among provincial governments and intelligence agencies" as well as "research and devise long-term policies to defeat" the terrorist mindset.

"The authority may suggest changes in curriculum, drama and films and it can also suggest introducing modern education in madrassas," Kaira added.

Kaira informed the media the cabinet also discussed the law and order situation during Ashura and commended the efforts of the Interior Ministry, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies to foil the evil designs of terrorists to carry out any terror activity during these days except a few minor ones.

"The role of Interior Minister Rehman Malik also came under discussion and the cabinet showered appreciation on him for doing commendable work to maintain peace and calm during Ashura days," Kaira said.

He also talked about the recently held D8 Summit in Pakistan, which the cabinet also discussed and rejected the objections on its holding and greater role of the Presidency in it. "The house of this summit was the President's House and it extended the invitation to the heads of these eight developing states," he said and added that the prime minister was on board about it.

At the summit, he said, D8 countries agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was crucial for development of the region. The summit was very successful and holding of such a mega event after eight years was a clear reflection of the member states' cordial relations and confidence in the democratic government of Pakistan.

Kaira said the situations in Gaza and Syria were also discussed at length on the sidelines of the summit. Replying to a query, the minister said a "political president" had been working for stability of the country and termed the objections "uncalled for" because President Asif Ali Zardari transferred all the powers to the elected parliament.

"The conspiracies were always hatched in the Presidency against democracy and we put an end to these conspiracies when Asif Zardari landed in the Presidency," he remarked. To another question, he said, "We respect all the political figures, including Mian Nawaz, irrespective of political differences and hope the same from others for our leadership."

On a caretaker set-up, Kaira said consultation on it would be held when the tenure of the present democratic set-up expires on March 16, 2013.

On the Asghar Khan case, the minister said the court should take notice of decisions and orders made by the government that came into power through rigged elections, when his attention was diverted towards the validation of the orders and acts of the then government. The cabinet also approved the signing of a security cooperation agreement with Iran by allowing the Interior Ministry to go ahead with it. It also approved the changes in election laws needed after the 18th Amendment in the constitution.

Earlier speaking during the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf appreciated the working of all security forces and law enforcement agencies for maintaining peace during Muharram.

He expressed grief over the loss of human lives in DI Khan and Rawalpindi and said that investigations had been ordered into these incidents to bring the culprits to justice.

He also expressed hope that the kind of cooperation on this occasion amongst the law enforcement agencies, media and the public would continue in the future as well and would contribute towards eliminating terrorist activities.

End.

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