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Provinces asked to fight terrorists with iron hand

PESHAWAR, Oct 10: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said a special law was being enacted to deal with cases related to terrorism and asked the provinces to take strict and effective measures to eliminate this menace.

Talking to members of families affected by the recent Qisa Khwani Bazaar bomb explosion and later in his talk with reporters at the Governor House on Thursday, he said the proposed law, which would effectively tackle cases of terrorism in the court of law, was ready. The culprits involved in terrorism would not escape the clutches of law, he added.

Mr Sharif said the proposed law would remove lacunas from existing laws, which helped the accused get bail because of lack of evidence or a weak case prepared by the prosecution.

He said in a country where security measures were weak extraordinary laws and decisions had to be taken to put things on the right track. The government would not show any weakness in elimination of terrorism and would go the distance to curb this menace once and for all, he added.

He said the targeted operation in Karachi was yielding positive results and expressed the hope that it would show more good results.

The prime minister said his government had decided to hold talks with militants in order to avoid more bloodshed in the country. He said the government was serious in taking forward the peace process and was sincere to exercise the option of negotiation for which it had beenmandated by an all-party conference.

He deplored that the previous regimes did not take the matter of terrorism seriously and as such the present government was confronted with this gigantic problem soon after coming to power. Had this problem been taken seriously by previous governments, the situation would not have gone intractable today, he said.

`We have laid hands to settle this problem and invited suggestions from all stakeholders to arrest this issue once and for all.

About the meeting he presided over on law and order earlier, the prime minister said setting up of an antiterrorism force was the need of the hour and asked the provinces to take steps in this direction.

He said the meeting stressed the need to raise a special counter-terrorism force to effectively tackle the menace of terrorism along with a strong intelligence network.

He said the country had been facing the problem of terrorism for the past 20 years, but it had not been taken seriously.

`We do not have a trained force to combat the menace of terrorism,` he said and added that the time had come to raise the special counter-terrorism force.

Mr Sharif said the provinces had to take emergency measures to defeat terrorism. He said progress could not be achieved without a stable economy and it required resolving the crises of energy and terrorism.He said his government had cleared the circular debt of Rs500 billion in difficult circumstances and gave an inclusive energy policy 2013 to the nation. It was not an easy task to pump in such a big amount in the energy sector in the presence of bad financial position, he added.

The prime minister said that the previous government did not concentrate on overcoming the problem of loadshedding, but expressed the resolve that there would be no loadshedding in the country after five years.

In reply to a question, he said US drone strikes must stop because they were against sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan. No independent country could tolerate violations of its territory.

Asked about steps his government has taken for economic prosperity, Mr Sharif said his economic team was well aware of the problems facing the country and expressed the confidence that the nation would overcome all its economic issues. He said his government had successfully finalised its arrangements with the IMF and also referred to formation of a vibrant energy policy.

He said his government was exploring all means to generate inexpensive electricity from solar, hydel, coal and wind sources.

He expressed grief and sorrow over the death of innocent people in the Qisa Khwani Bazaar and bus bomb blasts and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls.

He announced a compensation of Rs50 million for heirs of the victims of blasts.-APP