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Top civil military leadership approved crackdown against sectarianism

11 September, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: In a high-level meeting to review progress of the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP), the country’s top civil-military leadership approved a countrywide crackdown against sectarianism.

“It was unanimously decided during today’s meeting of the country’s top civil-military leadership that elements challenging the writ of the state would be eliminated,” Nisar said during a press conference after the apex committee’s meeting held at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. It has been decided that there will be zero tolerance for hate speech and hate literature, the interior minister said. “There will be no tolerance for calling each other infidel or liable to be killed,” he said. “There is a very thin line between sectarianism and terrorism. They both go hand-in-hand.”

Earlier, the national apex committee met in Islamabad, where key decisions taken were approved by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. The meeting discussed introducing fresh legislation to completely ban sectarianism and its financiers. DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, DG IB, provincial chief ministers and other high-ranking officials attended the meeting. The leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) also attended the session to review NAP implementation.

About seminaries, the interior minister said the process of their registration would continue with consultation of their leadership. “They will first meet with federal secretary interior and then the provincial leadership,” he said, adding ulema should portray the narrative of Islam and Pakistan rather of those who kill the innocent. He said a joint strategy would be adopted by the federal and the provincial governments to deal with several issues relating to NGOs, arms licences, security companies and sectarianism.

“It is the duty of the federal government to keep an eye on international NGOs, and regulate them while at the same time, the provincial governments are also required to regulate the local NGOs,” the interior minister maintained. Nisar said Interior Ministry had prepared a regulatory policy for the NGOs in a record time of just two and a half months after Prime Minister Nawaz had announced the government’s decision to regulate the NGOs in June 2015. “We will issue the policy soon after sharing it with provinces to help them formulate a similar policy document to regulate local NGOs.”

He, however, clarified that regulation on NGOs does not mean placing a ban on any of the good work being done by them in the country. On the issue of arms licences, the interior minister said the federal government will introduce a fresh policy for renewing the old arms licences and those who do not get their licences renewed will be cancelled. Meanwhile, law enforcers were directed to start a campaign to purge the country of illegal weapons. Nisar said over 0.5 million weapons were confiscated by law enforcers during a crackdown on those holding illegal weapons.

The civil-military brass also discussed the next phase of the security forces’ operation against militants in the north-western areas of the country. Earlier, Nisar was briefed on the implementation of NAP across the country by all four chief secretaries, home secretaries, interior secretaries and inspector generals of police of all the provinces who are also a part of the meeting. During the first session of the meeting, the interior minister was shown presentations on the 20 points of the NAP implementation, prepared by the provinces. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said simultaneous implementation of all 20 points of NAP on eradication of terrorism was equally important. He said there is a need to be vigilant to rid the country of terrorism and extremism.

NAP was the outcome of the consensus developed by political and military leaderships, he said while stressing its strict implementation in all provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Nawaz asked the meeting to apprise him about the impediments in the implementation of NAP and the steps required to be taken. The meeting reviewed the performance of apex committees set up to monitor implementation of NAP.

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