Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif blames Imran govt for rise in terrorism

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Slamming the former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for its failure to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism efficiently, PM Shehbaz Sharif said that role of provinces in the action plan will be restored as it did not exist in the last four years and has led to an increase in terrorism in the country.

During a meeting on Sunday, Shehbaz Sharif referred to the rise in terrorism-related incidents during the last four years against the backdrop of 56 per cent increase in the number of terror attacks in 2021.

A report by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) revealed that militants carried out 294 attacks, killing 388 people and wounding another 606 in 2021, reported The Express Tribune.

While chairing a meeting on law and order in Lahore, the Prime Minister said, “The role of the provinces in the National Action Plan will be restored, which did not exist in the last four years.”

Shehbaz added that because of ignoring the role of provinces in NAP terrorism has increased in the last four years. He lambasted the PTI government for overlooking the importance of the action plan and giving a free hand to terrorism.

On December 16, 2014, an attack took place at an Army Public School. The attack resulted in the killing of 149 people including at least 132 children. Post the attack, a national consensus was evolved to come down hard on the terrorists through a concerted national effort.

In view of this, a 20-point NAP for countering terrorism and extremism was chalked out by interior ministry in consultation with all stakeholders and approved on December 24, 2014, by the parliament. NAP had spelled out the specifics for the counter-terrorism drive in the country involving provincial governments, which the premier noted on Sunday were allegedly ignored by the previous government.

Those attending the meeting informed the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of the latest law and order situation in the country.

Sharif expressed concerns over the rise in street crime during the meeting, as per the media portal.

A briefing was also given on the eradication of terrorism and the threats posed in this regard.

The meeting comes at a juncture when Pakistan continues to remain on the “grey list” by FATF – a watchdog incorporating efforts to combat terrorist financing. Pakistan, which has been on FATF’s grey list for several years now, will only be removed from the list if it successfully passes the onsite visit, FATF president Marcus Pleyer recently said. The purpose of the onsite visit, he said, is to verify the completion of reforms to check whether they are sustainable and irreversible.

Balochistan was the most turbulent province in 2021 where 170 deaths were recorded in 103 militant attacks. PICSS noted that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa saw 162 attacks leaving 180 people killed. In Sindh, it said, 15 militant attacks left 23 dead while in Punjab 10 attacks left 10 people dead.

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