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PM Ashraf expresses concern over Karachi situation

15 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf presiding over cabinet meeting at PM Secretariat.
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday expressed serious concern over Karachi situation, saying extremism, militancy, intolerance, sectarian violence and terrorism, all put together pose a serious threat and challenge to the country's sovereignty, security and national cohesion.

"As a nation, we have to thwart sinister designs of the terrorists, and the government would play its part in eliminating these elements", he said during the federal cabinet meeting held under his chairmanship. In connection with the holy month of Muharram, the prime minister directed the law enforcing agencies of all the provinces to further beef up security, be vigilant and evolve a mechanism to maintain peace and harmony.

He also said that the federal government would extend all possible assistance to the provincial governments and all possible measures will be taken for improvement in law and order situation in Karachi. In this regard, Raja requested the people of Karachi to keep an eye on miscreants and inform the law enforcing agencies about any suspicious activity. He also urged the ulema and religious scholars to play their role in bringing peace to the city.

The prime minister and his cabinet condemned the suicide attack on Rangers Headquarters in Karachi and expressed deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives in what they termed a cowardly act of terrorism. Interior Minister Rehman Malik briefed the cabinet about the situation in Karachi.

The cabinet congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election as the president of the United States for a second term. PM Raja said Pakistan and the United States have common bilateral interests and shared regional objectives of peace, security and stability, and expressed the hope that as partners in a shared enterprise, the two sides would be able to continue to pursue their collective goals to the mutual benefit of both the countries.

The PM apprised the cabinet about his visit to Laos to attend the Asia Europe Meeting Summit. He said he had apprised the world leaders of unfortunate misuse of freedom of expression, which was causing misunderstanding between followers of various religions. He said that he informed them that this trend is being seen as another kind of extremism that is neither desirable nor welcomed. "All religions teach tolerance and accommodation. There is a need to inculcate and promote respect for these values," he added.

Raja said that the event was very important and was attended by leaders of Asia and Europe. The focus of the summit was on socio-economic issues and how to tackle them. The world leaders were apprised of the challenges being faced by Pakistan and how these are being coped with, Raja said. The prime minister said that he also informed the world leaders about Pakistan's efforts to improve human rights situation in the country, including that of women's lot and protection of rights of minorities, adding that Pakistan's desire for peace in the region especially in Afghanistan was also discussed.

The cabinet accorded its approval to the proposed amendment in Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA, 1947) and the Land Surveying and Mapping Bill – 2012.

In order to avoid any legal complications in important terrorism cases under trial, the cabinet approved, subject to vetting by the ministries of law and human rights, the Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill, 2012. Necessary provisions have been incorporated in the proposed bill for the protection of witnesses and juvenile accused persons. The cabinet also approved the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012. Earlier, it offered Fateha over the death of former law minister Syed Iqbal Haider and father of deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

End.

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