Drone attacks in conflict with ground realities: PM Gilani
07 July, 2011
MINGORA: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said drone attacks inside Pakistan’s borders were in conflict with ground realities and negatively impacted the country’s efforts to control radical trends.
Addressing a seminar on de-radicalisation organised by the Pakistan Army here at the University of Swat, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism, both in the political and military domains, needed recognition at the international level. “There is need to bridge the trust deficit and allow Pakistan space to manoeuvre and contribute significantly without international pressure,” he said.
He said that cooperation in counter-terrorism warranted a partnership approach, which fully accommodated others’ interests and was based on respect for clearly stipulated red lines. “The global resolve should manifest commitment in addressing root causes that militants exploit as psychological tools,” he said.
The prime minister said that working out such a strategy required serious and enduring commitment among stakeholders, adding that pursuing narrow interests at the cost of coalition partners and the aspirations of the people would be self-defeating. Sovereignty and self-respect of partners have to be respected, he said.
“Pakistan’s counter terrorism strategy is home grown and indigenous in character and based on the dictates of the environment. We are following a ‘4D strategy’ at the national level, which includes dialogue, deterrence, development and defeating terrorists’ ideology and mindset,” PM Gilani underscored.
He said the elimination of the radical threat in Swat, once propagated in the global media as the hub of terrorists, was a significant success, which included the return and rehabilitation of 2.4 million displaced people in record time. He observed that in his opinion Swat’s de-radicalisation programme was a model for other relevant organisations to learn from and replicate. “We are aware that without an effective national strategy marked by de-radicalisation, we will not succeed fully and comprehensively,” he said.
He said banned organisations had fomented terrorism and sectarianism in the society. “The efforts of our intelligence agencies have led to the apprehension of hundreds of Al-Qaeda operatives and the successful targeting of their leadership,” PM Gilani.
He said the government had constituted the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in 2008 to create a database of terrorists and terrorist organisations and coordinate and exchange important information between the federal and provincial civilian agencies and security organisations. He also acknowledged the efforts made by Pakistan Army not just in fighting terrorism but in the sphere of rehabilitation as well. “Within rehabilitation, de-radicalisation is an important part to which the Army has contributed immensely and provided us a nucleus to build on,” he said.
The prime minister said that Pakistan today faced multi-dimensional challenges both at the external and internal levels and the challenge of unintended radicalism and consequent terrorism was complex and a real barrier to the common goal of peace and stability.
He said the prolonged struggle against former USSR brought various Jihadi organisations from around the world under one umbrella and encouraged the radicalisation of ideas and mindsets. “The concept of Jihad, hitherto the responsibility of a state, was privatised and politicised. Consequently, Pakistan continues to suffer from its ramifications,” Gilani observed.
He said that the war against extremism and terrorism was a matter of national survival for the country and Pakistan shared global concerns about extremism, militancy and terrorism. “Pakistan’s commitment is total and unwavering. Despite challenges, the political leadership, Parliament and other state institutions stand united for the elimination of terrorism in the country and for addressing the socio-economic grievances of our people,” he said.
The prime minister was hopeful that with the collective support and struggle of the masses, political parties and military leadership, Pakistan would overcome the menace of extremism and terrorism. “Let me make this declaration: the Pakistani people and all state institutions are united in their resolve to eliminate terrorism from our sacred land and take this campaign against terror to its logical end,” he said.
Prime Minister Gilani also mentioned that Pakistan viewed India as the most important neighbour and desired sustained, substantive and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. “We sincerely hope that the ongoing process of comprehensive engagement will be fruitful,” he said.
Gilani said Pakistan would like to resolve all outstanding issues with India in a peaceful and just manner. “However, India will have to play a more positive and accommodating role and respond to Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns. India will not find Pakistan lacking in its will to write a new chapter in our bilateral relations,” he said.
He said Pakistan was committed to working in unison with all neighbours for the establishment of peace and the elimination of terrorism, adding that a stable, united, friendly and peaceful Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s best interests. Pakistan wants an independent and sovereign Afghanistan without any external influence, the prime minister said.
Agencies add: The prime minister said the process of de-radicalisation of reconcilable detainees alone wouldn’t pay dividends unless the hardcore category of apprehended terrorists was awarded exemplary punishment through an appropriate judicial mechanism. He said so far, such a legal framework was missing.
He said the Anti-Terrorism Act was promulgated essentially to tackle the law and order situation. He said through the elaborate and cooperative efforts of the federal ministries of law and interior, the chief minister and the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a Legal Framework Order had been prepared.
“This framework, endorsed by the president after the approval of the federal cabinet, has become a law for FATA and PATA,” the prime minister added. “In due course, it will be extended to settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and subsequently to all of Pakistan through acts of the National and Provincial Assemblies respectively. The law provides answers to a host of questions, including the requisitioning process of Army in aid of civil power, prolonged detention of terrorists and, most importantly, expeditious dispensation of justice.”
PM Gilani said his government had taken concrete steps to enhance the capacity building of paramilitary forces and police. “We have set up a community policing system for intelligence gathering and have a networking arrangement with NADRA to trace terrorists.”
He said Pakistan believed in democracy and pluralism. “A society that strives for equality and dignity is undoubtedly essential for addressing the rage and anger arising from political or economic injustices,” the prime minister said. “We acknowledge that without these steps, this rage will find new ways of expression. Our government is thus committed to ensuring improved access to physical assets, education, vocational skills, training and other education services that enhance human capital of the poor and enable them to generate better income through gainful employment opportunities,” the prime minister concluded.