As the country reels from multiple incidents of terrorism, claimed by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) over the past few days, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday vowed to eradicate militants across the country amid criticism by his predecessor Imran Khan, who grilled the government over a steep rise in militancy during its eight-month stint.
Addressing a gathering in Dera Ismail Khan, PM Shehbaz said that with the help of provincial governments and security forces, the government will eliminate terrorism in all its forms. He added that a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) would be summoned in a few days to take stock of the security situation.
The premier said the menace of terrorism was on the rise but the state would crush it very soon and no effort would be spared to prevent its return.
In a comment on an attack on a security compound in Bannu last week, PM Shehbaz said the Bannu incident was heart-breaking and added that the law enforcement agencies conducted a successful operation, killing all terrorists who had taken over the compound.
“We offer our condolences; the officers and personnel who were martyred in this incident are our heroes, their sacrifices will always be remembered,” he added.
‘Failure to rein in terror’
Meanwhile, former prime minister Imran Khan, who wants snap polls in the country at all costs and is likely to dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, lambasted the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government for its “failure” to rein in terrorism after coming to power in April this year.
During a PTI meeting at Zaman Park, his residence in Lahore, Mr Khan claimed that his government had “controlled terrorism and was proudly leading the country towards making it one of the world’s top tourism destinations”.
The PTI chairman appeared concerned over the situation at the Pak-Afghan border as well. He claimed that there was a 52 per cent increase in terror incidents since April and chided the government for the resurgence of terrorism.
“At least 52 per cent increase has been recorded in terrorism cases across the country that claimed some 270 precious lives and left over 550 people injured,” the former premier claimed.
Separately, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told reporters that terrorism was returning to Pakistan.
In our stint in the federal government, he said, the PTI was proudly projecting Pakistan as the world’s top tourist destination and major news channels like CNN and magazines were referring to this South Asian country as a world’s top tourist destination.
Unfortunately, he said the nation was being pushed into the “fire of terrorism and the embassies were issuing advisories to their employees to avoid five-star hotels” in Islamabad.
Speaking about the economic crisis plaguing the country, PM Sharif said the federal government was determined to steer the country out of the current difficulties.
The PM inaugurated multiple development projects, including 50-kilometre motorway section of CPEC’s western route from Yarik to Saggu, the rehabilitation of Chashma Right Bank Canal (CRBC), Tank Zam Dam, Chashma Hydel Power Project, and Gomal University’s Paharpur campus. He also inaugurated the repairing work from Pezu to Tank road, DI Khan bypass, and two 132 KV Grid stations for Abdul Khel and Band Kurai.
He said the plan for the western route of CPEC to Zhob was completed in 2017. But, the previous government of PTI had stopped this “important project”, he said, accusing it of destroying the national economy.
The premier also welcomed a suggestion put forth by Maulana Fazlur Rehman that an industrial estate should be established near the new airport. He added the ministry of industries and production would discuss the matter with the provincial departments and other stakeholders.
Separately, PM Sharif formed a committee to discover youth talent in all fields. Addressing the National Amateur Short Film Festival in Islamabad, he said our youth should take a leading role in this purpose.
He directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to increase the number of scholarships from fifteen to fifty under the National Amateur Short Film Festival so more students could get an opportunity to attend foreign training.