PUNJAB GOVT. COUNTER-TERROR MEASURES

Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who heads the largest province of Pakistan, is performing a lead role in war against terrorism. Recently, he addressed a high level security conference attended by all commissioners of Punjab, RPOs, DCOs and DPOs. Provincial cabinet ministers also attended the meeting. He said that “many nations in the past have confronted challenges; and the nations that showed unity, courage and determination did overcome the challenges”. Of course, in their rare display of unity civil and military leadership is in the same page. And the entire nation including almost all political parties are united in the war against terrorism. During 1965 war between Pakistan and India, entire Pakistani nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit that frustrated sinister designs of India to harm the citadel of Islam.

While addressing the conference, Shahbaz Sharif paid tributes to the valiant army officers and jawans who laid down their lives so that their compatriots could live without trepidation and fear. Since joining the war on terror, more than 50000 citizens and 6000 military personnel have been martyred, and many more injured. Punjab government, being alive to the situation, has taken lead in introducing ordinances including Punjab Arms Ordinance; alarm system in all educational institutions and wall chalking ordinance 2015. He is also focusing on spread of education and introduced many social-sector reforms, as he believes that educating the masses, providing them jobs and improving their lives are indispensable conditions to counter extremist tendencies.

However, after terrorist attack on Army Public School Peshawar on 16th December2014, which resulted in the martyrdom of 145 people including 135 students, civil and military leadership felt the need to amend the constitution to give more powers to Law Enforcing Agencies. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the nation has witnessed display of rare national unity to rid the country of the scourge of terrorism. Parliamentary leaders of the parties in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reached consensus on two bills envisaging amendments to the Constitution. The government then introduced two separate bills in the National Assembly envisaging 21st amendment to the Constitution and an amendment to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 for speedy trial of terrorists, which was carried by two/third majority.

The Punjab government has issued the Maintenance of Public Ordinance according to which the denunciation of the government’s counter-terrorism actions and giving statements in favour of terrorists would be considered crimes. The Punjab government has also promulgated an ordinance, which bans glorification of terrorists and their outfits at any forum and in the media. It regulates manufacture or sale of uniforms of law-enforcement agencies. The ordinance promulgated says: “A person shall not, by words spoken or written, use any formal forum to support terrorism or terrorists, or attempt to create sympathy for any terrorist or terrorist organization, or to oppose action of Pakistan army, air or naval force, police or Rangers against any terrorist or terrorist organization”.

Punjab government has already issued the Arms Ordinance 2015 in a move to eliminate all illegal arms. The newly-promulgated law bans public display or carrying of any arms across the provincial boundaries. Important amendments have been made to Section 13 of the Punjab Arms Ordinance 1965 to ensure security for the citizens, by issuing a new ordinance. Strict penalty including imprisonment 2-14 years and fine have been imposed on those violating the law. Having that said, Shahbaz Sharif has expressed his determination not to rest unless the scourge of terrorism is eliminated from Pakistan. On Saturday, talking to the members of provincial assembly, Shahbaz Sharif said that terrorists have caused irreparable loss to the economy of the country, and destroyed peace in the society. He said that the people of Pakistan have decided to eliminate scourge of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations under the leadership of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif.

 

Anusha Ramzie

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