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Nawaz Sharif to release of Rs 100 million for NACTA

11 August, 2016

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ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed release of Rs 100 million for the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), as a high-level huddle began in the federal capital on Wednesday to review the fight against violent extremism.

The meeting also discussed issues relating to the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and financial constraints faced by NACTA. Attendees included Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Director General (DG) Military Operations Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, DG Military Intelligence Major General Nadeem Zaki Manj, Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid, Adviser to prime minister Sartaj Aziz, National Security Adviser Lt General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and others.

The prime minister was briefed about NACTA’s performance and progress made in the anti-terror fight, mainly from the military-led agencies, including the 3,100 intelligence based operations (IBOs) that helped foil hundreds of terror attacks. The meeting also called for strengthening NACTA on an emergency basis to ensure effective and timely communication and coordination among the intelligence agencies

“On paper, NACTA is functional, but the situation on the ground is different,” one official said. Subsequently, the prime minister directed the finance minister to release the Rs 100 million allocated for NACTA, and asked the interior minister to streamline the body’s functioning and operationalise its joint directorate.

PM Nawaz pointed out that an uptick in terror attacks in Pakistan coincided with Islamabad’s efforts to raise the Kashmir issue on the international stage. “The terrorist incidents happened at a time when Pakistan is raising awareness about Indian atrocities in Kashmir.”

The enemy has targeted prominent personalities in the country, besides killing minorities, he said while referring to the assassination of Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi in Quetta on Monday which was followed by a deadly suicide blast that claimed at least 74 lives. He added, “A mindset is involved in such heinous activities that do not tolerate the improved law and order situation in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.”

He hinted that the attacks were specifically to counter the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) “Such mindset does not assimilate the emerging prospects of progress and prosperity in Pakistan and mega development projects like CPEC.”

Law-Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have taken more than 50 suspects in Lahore and outskirts into custody, following a high alert issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Islamabad, about possible terror attacks at Wagah and Ganda Singh borders. Through an alert dispatched late on Tuesday to the Punjab Director General of Pakistan Rangers, the Home Department and the provincial police chief, NACTA asked for high preventive measures to protect the public as well as security personnel.

“Tehreek-i-Taliban’s Fazalullah group is planning to target parade at Wagah Border in Lahore and Ganda Singh Border in Kasur on August 13-15,” the security alert says. The letter also said that two suicide bombers had been sent to hit these targets. “Extreme vigilance and heightened security measures are suggested to avoid any untoward incident,” it added.

A deadly terrorist attack had hit Wagah in November 2014, when over 60 people, including children and security personnel, were killed and 200 others injured minutes after the flag-lowering ceremony at the border. “We have taken measures in the wake of the security alert issued by the NACTA about possible terror attack at two important places in Lahore and Kasur,” Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains told the reporters.

He said that the police had launched the combing, search and sweep and intelligence-based operation late on Tuesday, effecting arrests in many parts of the city. He said that the suspects would be quizzed and kept into custody till verification process as a majority of them could not produce documents related to their identity.

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