SHAFAQNA – Pakistan’s leadership overnight agreed on a comprehensive antiterrorism action plan. They will revamp the criminal system, crackdown on terrorist hideouts, communications and sources of income, and establish a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force.
Speaking to the nation in a televised address on Wednesday night, following an 11-hour meeting of parliamentary heads, Pakistan’s leader was resolute. He said that the terrorist act had drawn a line between, on the one hand, “coward terrorists”, and on the other, the Pakistani nation, and swore that the groups will be eradicated and not allowed to re-appear.
“The Peshawar atrocity has changed Pakistan. We need to eradicate the mindset of terrorism to defeat extremism and sectarianism.”
“This horrendous attack has shaken the nation… the terrorists struck the future of this country, when they murdered those children,” he added.
“Special courts, headed by the officers of armed forces, will be established for the speedy trial of terrorists,” the prime minister said later in the midnight address, adding that the courts will operate for a period of two years. That question was among the sticking points of the meeting, with some leaders worried that the trials might be used for eliminating political opposition. They say their concerns have been alleviated now: “Only terrorists would be tried in these courts and these would not be used for political objectives,” opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah told AFP.
The Pakistani military spoke to Afghan and ISAF colleagues, who say they are onboard and will offer their full support in the continuing efforts.