Tag Archives: Nawaz

Nepal’s foreign minister invites PM Nawaz to 18th SAARC Summit



ISLAMABAD: Nepal’s Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Panday on Thursday extended an invitation to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to participate in the 18th SAARC Summit being held in Kathmandu in November, an official handout stated.

The meeting took place at the PM House where Ambassador of Nepal to Pakistan Bharat Raj Paudyal and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi were also present.

“Pakistan wishes to nurture closer economic and cultural relations between the two countries,” the premier said.

“Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Nepal is not reflective of our political ties, and the potential that exists in both countries for which institutional mechanisms such as the Joint Economic Commission, need to be made more effective,” Prime Minister Nawaz said.

Further, he said, “Apart from strengthening bilateral relations with Nepal, Pakistan is particularly keen to promote SAARC activities in partnership with Nepal. Resolution of disputes between SAARC countries is important for SAARC’s progress, and Nepal can play its due role in this regard.”

During the meeting, it was also acknowledged that it is important for SAARC to develop economic partnership with major countries within the region, which is essential for its growth.

Panday also conveyed Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s best wishes, and expressed the desire to further strengthen and develop bilateral relations.

Prime Minister Nawaz reciprocated the sentiments, while conveying his best wishes for a successful SAARC Summit.


Parliamentary huddle: Nawaz advised not to accept PTI’s resignations



ISLAMABAD: 

As the government heaved a sigh of relief after the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) winded up its 67-day-long dharna in the federal capital, parliamentary leaders of different parties advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday not to accept the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, sources told The Express Tribune.

The advice was given in a meeting of the parliamentary leaders convened by the prime minister at his chamber in the parliament to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country. Sources, however, said the prime minister wanted to thank the parliamentary leaders for their unequivocal support during the political turmoil triggered by the protest sit-ins of the PAT and PTI.

Though PAT called off its sit-in on Tuesday, Imran Khan’s party says it will not relent until the prime minister resigns and orders an impartial audit of the 2013 parliamentary elections which, it claims, were massively rigged in favour of the PML-N.

All federal lawmakers of the PTI had submitted their resignations en masse on August 22 which are pending approval with National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

During Wednesday’s huddle, most parliamentary leaders — including leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah — advised Premier Nawaz to ask the speaker not to accept the resignations, sources said.

According to them, the Rules of Business of the National Assembly and the Constitution are silent on any timeframe for the speaker to verify the resignation of a lawmaker. Sources said the prime minister listened to the parliamentary leaders but decided to defer the matter until their next meeting.

Participants of the meeting said the PTI dharna would also fizzle out soon. They said Imran’s dharna had become symbolic and posed no threat to the government. Sources quoted the prime minister as telling the meeting that Imran’s party was staging rallies in different cities of the country and “now is not the appropriate time to negotiate with them”.

The prime minister also apprised the meeting of the combined opposition’s decision to withdraw a no-confidence motion against Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak in the provincial assembly. He said the PTI-led government was under a lot of pressure to deliver on its promise of ‘Naya Pakistan’. The parliamentary leaders agreed that Imran was losing ground in K-P.

The prime minister credited the parliamentary leaders with the PAT decision to wind up its dharna. He told the participants that he has stopped the ruling party lawmakers from making statements against Dr Tahirul Qadri. According to sources, some participants asked if Qadri’s decision was the result of some deal between the government and PAT. The prime minister, however, laughed off the query without confirming or denying that a deal was struck.

About the defeat of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi in the Multan by-elections, the prime minister told the meeting that JUI-F supporters didn’t vote for Hashmi even though all political parties had agreed to support Hashmi in the NA-149 by-polls.

According to an official handout, Premier Nawaz said that all political issues should be discussed and resolved in the parliament. “All political parties should play their due role in transforming Pakistan into a prosperous and developed country. We are trying to ensure good governance in the country through a consultative process which also includes the opposition parties,” he added.

The prime minister also briefed the parliamentary leaders on the ongoing tensions with India triggered by border skirmishes and the upcoming visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “Pakistan wants to cultivate cordial relations with all the countries in the region. Our armed forces are fighting courageously in North Waziristan against terrorists and giving sacrifices to ensure a peaceful and secure Pakistan,” he said.

Attendees at the meeting included Syed Khursheed Shah and Aitzaz Ahsan of the PPP, Farooq Sattar of the MQM, Mehmood Khan Achakzai of the PkMAP, Aftab Khan Sherpao of Qaumi Wattan Party, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the ANP, Ejazul Haq of the PML-Zia, federal ministers and other parliamentary leaders.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2014.


Political issues should be resolved in the Parliament: Nawaz



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday emphasised that all political issues should be discussed and resolved in the Parliament.

Chairing a meeting of parliamentary leaders over the prevailing political situation in the country in his Parliament House chamber, the premier urged all political parties to play their role in “transforming Pakistan into a prosperous and developed country.”

Prime minister claimed that the government is trying to ensure good governance in the country by taking all stake holders into confidence including the opposition. “We are trying to ensure good governance in the country through a consultative process which also includes the Opposition parties,” said Nawaz.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to provide better facilities to the poor, the premier claimed that they were taking all possible measures to streamline the sickening economy of the country.

“Pakistan wants to cultivate cordial relations with all the countries in the region. Our armed forces are fighting courageously in North Waziristan against the terrorists and rendering sacrifices to ensure a peaceful and secure Pakistan,” he said.

The leaders attended the meeting includes Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, MQM MNA Dr Farooq Sattar, PkMAP MNA Mehmood Khan Achakzai, ANP MNA Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, MNA Ijazul Haq, PPP-Sherpao MNA Aftab Sherpao, MQM MNA Abdul Rashid Godail, MNA Sahibzada Tariqullah, MNA Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal, Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for SAFRON Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and Political Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Asif Kirmani.


No-trust motion: Nawaz stops opposition from toppling K-P govt



PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday dissuaded a small but influential opposition party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) from submitting a no-confidence motion against the K-P chief minister, who represents Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

A delegation of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), led by party chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, called on the prime minister at the PM House on Tuesday.

Although the official handout only suggested that “matters relating to national and political situation” were discussed, sources close to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said that the JUI-F chief had actually prepared a plan to topple the PTI-led government. The prime minister was told at Tuesday’s meeting that the JUI-F had acquired the support of a majority of K-P Assembly members, including 15 disgruntled PTI legislators.

But the prime minister immediately shot down the plan, saying his government was already pursuing a hands-off policy on any provincial government, even those that were hostile to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Instead, the PM Nawaz asked the JUI-F to wait and watch PTI’s performance in the province, sources said.

After the meeting the JUI-F chief held a press conference and announced that all the opposition parties in the K-P Assembly have decided not to pursue the ‘no confidence motion’ filed against Pervaiz Khattak.

“The aim and objective of the ‘no-confidence motion’ was to thwart the PTI’s possible attempt to dissolve the K-P Assembly and this aim has been achieved,” Fazl told reporters.

Forty-eight opposition members in the K-P Assembly had submitted the motion in August and forwarded it to the K-P assembly’s speaker, chief minister and the K-P Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan.

Maulana Fazl, however, demanded that the K-P governor should hold the CM Khattak accountable for the PTI’s civil disobedience movement, attempts to clash with federal government and rebellion call against federation.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the JUI-F’s spokesperson Jan Achakzai said the K-P governor would soon write a letter to the CM and present the above charge-sheet. He said all opposition parties had decided not to pursue the no-trust motion as it was not the right time.

“The opposition parties will first create a political environment – through letters and other means – and then move a fresh ‘No Confidence Motion’,” he said, adding that the K-P opposition would try to present the motion before the upcoming Senate elections, which are scheduled for March 2015.

He said that the timing for the motion would be decided in consultation with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which is a major opposition party in the K-P.

However, sources in the PML-N said it is the party’s stated policy not to topple the PTI led K-P government at any cost. In Senate elections next year, 12 senators will be elected from the K-P and it will not be a big issue for the federal government if nine of them belong to the PTI, they said.

At present, in the 124-member KP Assembly, the PTI has 55 seats, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has eight seats, Awami Jamhori Ittehad (AJI) has five seats, the PML-N and the JUI-F have 17 seats each, Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party have five seats each and Qaumi Wattan Party has ten seats. Two seats are occupied by independent members.

The government alliance – comprising the PTI, the AJI, the JI and independents – have a strength of 70 seats while the opposition alliance – the JUI-F, the PML-N, the QWP, the PPP and the ANP – have 54 members. Sixty-three members are required to oust the K-P chief minister.

Announcement in Peshawar

After a meeting in Peshawar, opposition parties in the K-P Assembly also announced not to pursue a ‘no confidence motion’ against the CM.

According to sources, the K-P Assembly’s Leader of Opposition Lutfur Rehman informed the participants that the K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had requested them on behalf of the PTI and the JI to withdraw the resolution.

A final decision in this regard will be made in a meeting on Wednesday (today) with the K-P Assembly speaker.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2014.


No short-cuts in life: Imran vowes to continue ‘dharna’ till Nawaz resigns, as PAT winds-up



ISLAMABAD: After Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri announced an end to his sit-in in Islamabad on Tuesday evening, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan reiterated his commitment to continue his protest till the prime minister resigns, Express News reported.

Addressing his supporters from his container in Islamabad, PTI chief said the ‘dharna’ will continue till the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He further urged the government to accept resignations of PTI lawmakers immediately, saying he does not accept this ‘fake parliament.’

Imran asks K-P MPAs to submit asset details

Imran Khan has directed the PTI additional secretary general Saifullah Niazi to ask all PTI Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa legislators, who have failed to declare their assets, to submitted details of their assets to Election Commission of Pakistan immediately.

By not declaring their assets, these legislators are breaching the PTI principled position on declaration of assets and this would not be tolerated, said PTI chief.


Ties with Kabul: Afghan president to ‘share his vision with PM Nawaz’



ISLAMABAD: In apparent signs of thaw in Pakistan-Afghan relations marred by a serious trust-deficit, the new Afghan president has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Pakistan to ‘share his vision’ for ties between the two neighbours, officials said on Sunday.

The invitation was delivered to President Ashraf Ghani, who took over from Hamid Karzai earlier this month, by PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz during a daylong trip to Kabul on Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. President Ghani accepted the invitation and would visit Islamabad in the ‘very near future’.

President Ghani told Aziz that there was a historic opportunity to transform Pak-Afghan relations into a ‘warm and mutually beneficial’ relationship and expressed his keenness to share his vision for Pak-Afghan ties over the next five years with Prime Minister Nawaz.

“A new chapter has been opened in relations between the two countries today and I’m confident this will pave the way for close cooperation,” President Ghani was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Afghan presidential palace. He underscored the need for better trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and called for more bilateral exchanges and talks to enhance cooperation in economic and security areas.

At the same time, the Afghan president called for ending the traditional ‘blame game’ between the two countries. “The time has come for practical steps for the establishment of peace… our countries should no longer depend on only issuing statements about peace,” he added. “We should stop trading accusations and bring about an atmosphere of trust.”

Promoting peace and stability is one of the priorities of Ghani’s government and it will not hesitate to take serious action to achieve this objective, the presidential palace’s statement said. “We will never let Afghanistan turn into a safe haven for terrorists.”

Sartaj Aziz conveyed felicitations on the peaceful transfer of power and formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan. He underscored Prime Minister Nawaz’s desire to build a comprehensive and enduring partnership between Pakistan and Afghanistan, marked by trust, understanding and close cooperation, and the premier’s belief that the two countries had a historic opportunity to move in that direction.

Aziz also underlined the importance of bilateral mechanisms for interaction at different levels in political, security and economic realms. He said Pakistan would fully support and facilitate Afghan efforts for peace and stability. He also emphasised the importance of enhanced trade and economic relations as well as regional connectivity for trade and energy.

Both sides agreed to hold bilateral meetings to enhance cooperation on security and economic issues. They also discussed Pakistan’s role in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and regional issues.

Apart from his meeting with President Ghani, Aziz also called on Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and conveyed Premier Nawaz’s cordial greetings and invitation to visit Pakistan at a mutually convenient date.

Appreciating the invitation, Abdullah said both sides must work closely to realise the opportunities to build a close, cooperative relationship. Matters relating to peace and security, trade and economic cooperation and regional cooperation were also discussed.

Aziz held separate meetings with Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani and National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar. Apart from bilateral and regional matters, the discussions focused on the preparatory work for the President Ghani’s visit to Pakistan.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul have remained tense over the past few months due to a growing trust-deficit between the two neighbours over the issue of dealing with militancy. Both countries accused each other for supporting proxies to create instability in each other’s country.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2014.


Show of power in Karachi: Bilawal asks Nawaz to embrace ‘Bhuttoism’



KARACHI: 

Kicking off his political career with a massive rally at the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam on Saturday, the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, hit out at all political rivals calling them to give up ‘Ziaism’ and embrace ‘Bhuttoism’.

“The problem with the PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] government is that the spirit of [former military dictator] Ziaul Haq still dominates its policies,” the scion of the Bhutto family said, addressing the mammoth crowd of PPP activists who had poured into Karachi from across the country. “I urge Nawaz Sharif to embrace Bhuttoism and practice good governance in order to strengthen democracy and save the country.”

Maintaining that his grandfather and PPP’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, laid down the foundations of true democracy in Pakistan, Bilawal said: “It is interesting that even his [ZA Bhutto’s] enemies take oath under the Constitution my grandfather had framed in 1973.”

Bilawal added that there were only two political forces in the country: “On one side, you have Bhuttoism and on the other, you have the fans of dictatorship who want to perpetuate the status quo… you will find the latter walking in the footsteps of General Zia and General Musharraf.”

Recalling the attack on his mother Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming caravan at Karsaz on October 18, 2007, the Oxford graduate said the forces working against ‘Bhuttoism’ were afraid of a woman who had challenged dictatorship and sought to bring about democracy in Pakistan.

“I’m ready to face the consequences… I would prefer to die, but I cannot give up my mother’s mission,” Bilawal said from atop his bombproof container, the same one that had saved his mother’s life seven years ago on the same day.

He added that anti-democratic forces constantly worked again PPP’s mission, “either in the shape of Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) or Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), or through actions such as the hanging of ZA Bhutto and the assassination of Benazir.”

Talking about protest sit-in of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against rigging in the May 2013 general elections, the PPP chairperson said, “We, democratic people, want to bring change through votes rather than by derailing democracy the same way as the PNA had toppled my grandfather’s elected government in 1977.”

Calling Imran a ‘puppet opposition leader’ propped against Prime Minister Nawaz’s ‘puppet government’, Bilawal urged him to give up ‘politics of sit-ins’ and work for the betterment of internally displaced people (IDPs) and victims of the recent floods across the country.

“Where is Insaf [justice] in Tehreek-e-Insaf… Imran Khan promised to root out corruption in 90 days, but failed to do so… he promises to build Naya Pakistan, but he can’t even deliver a Naya Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P),” Bilawal said. “The PTI wants to establish its writ in Lahore the same way Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has established its writ in Karachi.”

His statement prompted some emphatic PPP supporters to chant ‘Go Imran, Go’ alongside ‘Go Nawaz, Go’.

The PPP leader also hit out at the MQM, saying that despite holding the health portfolio in the Sindh government for the last 20 years, the party had failed to deliver even basic health facilities. “If any deadly virus breaks out here now, the people of Sindh will make MQM’s life miserable… even I won’t be able to save the MQM,” he said.

Accusing MQM of leaving Karachi in ruin, Bilawal said the city would gain ‘true independence’ in 2018.

Responding to chants by supporters, Bilawal said, “I am rebel, I am a Bhutto,” and announced that the party will be re-organised after Youm-e-Tasees (foundation day) on November 30. “We will hold a meeting of our party office bears and bring drastic changes in the party. We will do whatever you want,” he said.

Bilawal claimed there was a ‘script’ being enacted to bring about a civil war in Pakistan, much like Iraq and Syria. “A new script has been written after the murder of [al Qaeda chief] Osama Bin Laden. An office of militant organisation opened up in Peshawar. All democratic forces in Pakistan should join hands to foil this conspiracy,” he said.

Regarding the issue of Kashmir, he said the Indian government and media were trying to malign PPP’s image and muzzle its voice since it is “the only Pakistani party whose voice is heard around the world.”

The PPP chairperson also criticised the judiciary, saying that while it was very active in punishing people like Aasia Bibi for blasphemy, it kept mum when it came to militants. “Whenever our competent officers take action against extremists, the judiciary orders their transfer,” he said, adding that if judges were afraid, they ought to sit at home.

PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, former premiers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and senior party leaders Aitzaz Ahsan, Fahmida Mirza and Makhdoom Amin Fahim also spoke at the rally.

Zardari admitted that past elections had been stolen, but urged protesting quarters to look forward rather than engaging in a blame game. “We [PPP] want to save democracy, but they call us pro-government,” he said. He added that Imran had once supported the referendum of a dictator. The former president also urged MQM chief Altaf Hussain to join hands with him for a better Pakistan, not weaken it.

Aitzaz Ahsan, meanwhile, stressed the need to induct new blood in the party and requested Bilawal to do so.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2014.


Guardians of the sea: PM Nawaz vows to boost maritime defence



LAHORE: 

Pakistan desires peace and tranquillity both within and outside its borders to meet much-needed socio-economic development goals, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday.

At the inauguration ceremony of the new building of Pakistan Naval War College (PNWC) in Lahore, Sharif said, “Pakistan will never compromise on its sovereignty. We cannot afford to be distracted in fulfilling our national objectives.”

The premier added the country is going through defining moments in its history as its armed forces battle extremism and militancy. He expressed hope the naval college would continue to foster relations with foreign militaries by training officers from friendly countries and spreading maritime awareness amongst academic circles.

Lauding Pakistan Navy’s role in defending the country, Sharif said a well-equipped navy is integral for the country’s security and economic prosperity. “Despite  resource constraints, the government will work towards strengthening Pakistan’s maritime defence,” he added.

The PM further said sea routes are the jugulars of world trade and any disruption in the waters had the potential to disrupt global economy and impact global security. “We must always remain cognizant of our effective role in the maritime affairs of this region.”

Appreciating the navy’s indigenous construction of warships, Sharif said he said he felt proud of the force for taking the initiative of constructing large warships and potent fast attack crafts through the revival of the Karachi shipyard. He also praised the navy for developing a national maritime policy which is slated to be completed soon.

Speaking about his economic initiatives, Sharif said the government was working towards making Gwadar Port fully functional at the earliest and developing the Gwadar-Kashgar link, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor portfolio. According to Sharif, some of the most important projects include the construction of an airport, expressway link and a powerhouse in Gwadar.

Earlier, the PM unveiled the foundation plaque of the new PNWC building. The  83,254 square feet building has an auditorium, central hall, 10 syndicate rooms, five war-gaming rooms, three faculty clusters, two conference rooms, a library and several meeting rooms.

The inauguration was attended by Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Punjab Chief Secretary Navid Akram Cheema and Punjab IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera.  

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2014.


PM Nawaz to attend APEC meeting in China next month



ISLAMABAD: PM Nawaz Sharif has been invited by President Xi Jinping to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders’ meeting in Beijing next month.

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong called on PM Nawaz Sharif on Friday and conveyed Xi’s invitation to him, said an official handout.

The PM expressed his gratitude on receiving President Xi’s invitation, saying he looked forward to his visit to Pakistan, which he believed would take Pak-China relations to a higher level.

Weidong said the Chinese president welcomed the prime minister to attend the host-partners dialogue to be held in APEC meeting in Beijing next month, and will visit Pakistan at an early and mutually convenient date.

Matters of mutual interest were discussed, while PM Nawaz also appreciated Chinese efforts in rehabilitation of flood victims and the IDPs.

According to officials, PM will visit China in the first week of November to sign various projects including energy related projects worth billion.

The Chinese president was supposed to visit Pakistan in September but could not get a security clearance owing to the anti-government protests in the federal capital.

An annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting is attended by the heads of government of all APEC members. The location of the meeting rotates annually among members, and this time it’s going to be held in Beijing.


High-level huddle: Premier Nawaz mulls series of national security measures



ISLAMABAD: 

A high-level meeting on national security was held in the federal capital on Thursday to discuss various internal and external threats posed to the country and devise strategies to tackle them, an official handout said.

Although the handout did not add much about its agenda, sources told The Express Tribune that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid particular attention to tensions with India along Pakistan’s eastern frontier, the likelihood of terrorist activity in Muharram against the backdrop of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the announcement by certain Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and the implementation of the National Security Policy.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, army chief General Raheel Sharif, outgoing Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General (DG) Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam, his designated successor Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry attended the meeting, along with other senior civil and military officials.

Tensions with India

Sharing details of the meeting, sources said participants, while reviewing the tense situation with India along the LoC and the working boundary, agreed to raise the issue at all international forums. They said the Foreign Office was directed to effectively highlight ceasefire violations by India at all such platforms.

At least 12 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in ‘unprovoked’ firing on Pakistani territory by Indian forces.

While Pakistani officials have repeatedly said they have responded ‘befittingly’ to ceasefire violations by India, participants of the meeting also agreed that the tensions should be resolved through dialogue, according to sources.

Muharram and Operation Zarb-e-Azb

While reviewing possible threats in the month of Muharram – which starts on October 24 – participants of the meeting acknowledged it was hard to predict what sort of danger existed against the backdrop of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, sources said. They also said it was unclear whether or not militants would be able to launch attacks on Muharram processions in the wake of the ongoing military offensive in North Waziristan.

Chaudhry Nisar, meanwhile, briefed the meeting’s participants about steps his ministry has taken to ensure that peace is not disrupted during the month, the sources added.

TTP’s allegiance to IS

While pondering on the TTP’s recent announcement to pledge allegiance to the IS movement in Iraq and Syria, participants of the meeting agreed the move would spell trouble for the region.

However, according to sources, the participants pointed out that the local militants’ efforts to ally with IS was not organised and coordinated at this stage. This, they said, provided an opportunity to smash any possible IS foothold in the country. The participants added that failure to take solid steps in this regard would allow the TTP-IS nexus to organise itself.

National security policy

Sources said stakeholders have expressed their disappointment over the implementation of the National Security Policy.

Meanwhile, participants of the meeting also discussed other geostrategic, regional and global matters.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2014.