A special parliamentary committee formed to chalk out a comprehensive ‘National Action Plan’ to counter terrorism Tuesday expressed complete consensus over most of the recommendations presented by joint experts group. But there was no general agreement over the recommendations advocating setting up of military courts and introduction of madrasa reforms.
“All members of the committee showed their consensus over 12 out of 18 recommendations presented by a joint expert group except setting up of military courts and madrasa or seminary reforms,” according to official sources. Qamar Zaman Kaira of Pakistan People’s Party told media persons after the meeting that members of the committee held a detailed discussion over all the recommendations, including setting up of military courts for speedy trials and introduction of seminary reforms. The Interior Minister will present the recommendations finalised by the committee to political and military leadership today (Wednesday).
Kaira, who is also one of the members of the committee, further stated that the points that require consensus will be taken up again in today’s (Wednesday) meeting. Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, who is heading the committee, told journalists that there were as many as 18 points under consideration, of which most of the points were agreed upon. The remaining points on which consensus is yet to be evolved, he added, will be taken up in an All-Party Conference today (Wednesday).
The sources said that the Interior Minister informed the committee about the resentment shown by Pakistan army over the acquittal of terrorists by civilian courts or inordinate delay in the execution of sentences of condemned convicts. They further said that the committee held a detailed discussion over setting up of military courts either in Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA) or across the country to expedite the trial of terrorism- related cases. According to sources, the representatives of PPP, MQM, JI and ANP were concerned over the role of existing judicial system in the presence of parallel military courts.
Sources said that PTI, however, did not object to the proposal in favour of military courts. The sources also said that members belonging to PPP, MQM, JI and ANP sought time to discuss the issue of military courts with their respective leadership. They said that committee also held detailed deliberations over recommendations related to registration of seminaries, reforms in madresa syllabi and other related matters, but the parliamentary body showed deep fissures over this highly sensitive issue.
The official said the recommendations proposed by the joint experts’ group also include establishment of a National Counter Terrorism Council headed by the prime minister. The council will consist of interior minister, minister for information, representatives of Pakistan army, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and representatives of provincial governments.
The National Counter Terrorism Council will keep an eye on terror threats besides creating consensus among all political parties. The recommendations also include the revamp of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), establishment of a special unit in FIA to control financing of terrorists, arrest of suspected terrorists of banned organisations and a ban on publicity of hate materials and literature in the country. The experts’ group also proposed registration of cases under anti-terrorism law against organisations spreading hatred, sources said.
The experts group also recommended to carry forward Karachi operation till it reaches its logical end besides conducting operation against militants in Punjab and expanding a similar operation in restive Balochistan province. The meeting also underscored the need for imposing a ban on media coverage to militants and ensuring immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees, he said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan presided over the meeting while Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr Shireen Mazari and Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Rehman Malik and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Awami National Party’s (ANP) Afrasiab Khattak, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Dr Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, Pakistan Muslim League’s (PML-Q) Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Akram Khan Durrani, Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI) Sahibzada Tariqullah, PML-Z’s Ejazul Haq, Qaumi Watan Party’s (QWP) Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli and Kalsoom Perveen of Pakthunkgwa Milli Awami Party also attended the meeting.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT