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Pak PM Sharif holds back-to-back meetings to review army preparedness

world Updated: Oct 04, 2016 22:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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In this photo released by the Pakistan Press Information Department on Monday, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif (right) meets Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People's party for a meeting in Islamabad. Leaders of all Pakistani political parties have been meeting to discuss the border situation with India. (AP)

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held two back-to-back meetings on Tuesday to review the preparedness of Pakistan’s armed forces and to assess the situation along the Line of Control against the backdrop of increased tensions with India.

Sharif first met with senior federal ministers and four provincial chief ministers to discuss the implementation of the National Action Plan, a counter-terrorism programme that was framed after the Taliban massacred more than 140 people at a school in Peshawar in December 2014.

The premier later chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee that reviewed the status of the armed forces and discussed the tensions with India, which peaked after a terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri and India’s surgical strikes across the LoC against terrorists last week.

Read: As tension with India escalates, Sharif holds meeting with Pak parties

Both meetings were also attended by National Security Advisor Nasser Janjua, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, the heads of the ISI and Intelligence Bureau.

Sharif said evolving a national policy is an imperative for the war on terrorism and violent extremism, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. He added that the country expects the government to rid “society of these evils”.

The National Security Committee expressed its resolve to “ensure the defence of the country at any cost”, Radio Pakistan reported. The panel reviewed internal and external security, especially the situation on the LoC and operational preparedness of the military.

The committee referred to India’s surgical strikes as “propaganda and false claims” and said India should resolve the Kashmir issue for peace in the region instead of “such futile efforts of diverting the attention” of the world community.

The civil and military leadership said escalation on the LoC and the border with India “will shift Pakistan’s focus away from its efforts to eliminate terrorism from our soil at a critical stage”.

Read: As top leaders join hands, Pak media says ‘united we stand’ on Kashmir issue

Sharif repeated his contention that the Kashmiri people are fighting for the right to self-determination. “Pakistan and Kashmir are inseparable, and we will continue to extend our moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people at every forum,” he said.

Sharif also said Pakistan does not have “aggressive designs against any country” and its “quest for peace must not be mistaken as a sign of weakness”.