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Prime Minister Imran Khan has authorized the Armed Forces of Pakistan to respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India. Chairing a meeting of the National Security Committee here on Thursday, the civilian and military leadership took the stock of the situation following the Pulwama incident. Sources said the meeting also was given a briefing on the recent visit of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and overall security situation.

The participants discussed geo-strategic and national security environment and the situation arising out of the Pulwama incident and the forum noted that the state of Pakistan is not involved in any way, means or form in the said incident. "The incident was conceived, planned and executed indigenously," the meeting noted. The meeting also stated that in this regard, Pakistan has sincerely offered investigation into the incident as well as the offer of dialogue on the issue of terrorism among other disputed issues.

We expect India to positively respond to the offers. Based on the investigation or any tangible evidence provided, the state of Pakistan shall take action against anyone found using our soil. However, India also needs deep introspection to realize that why people of IOK have lost fear of death. The violence by Indian forces in IOK is highly counterproductive. The global community needs to play its part in resolving the long pending Kashmir issue in accordance with UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris.

The Prime Minister said that this is a 'new' Pakistan and "we are determined to demonstrate to our people that the State is capable of protecting them and believes that monopoly of violence stays with State".

This will not come with commitment alone and Pakistan recognizes that terrorism and extremism are the top issues in the region and the whole region, including Pakistan, has suffered. Pakistan alone has endured over 70,000 casualties in the process besides heavy loss to its national exchequer and that is why the National Action Plan conceived and issued in 2014, outlined concrete sequenced measures with consensus of all political parties and institutions of Pakistan. Having addressed direct threat to state of Pakistan, we need to move to ensure that militancy and extremism are routed from society and the State never becomes hostage to extremists. In this regard, the Prime Minister directed both the interior ministry and the security institutions to immediately accelerate actions on ground. The meeting was attended by the all the Chiefs of Armed Forces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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