Shahbaz Sharif spoke up about govt’s helplessness in front of military during the meeting
Nawaz Sharif wants Pathankot and Mumbai attacks properly investigated
“You can arrest whoever you want,” DG ISI gives go-ahead to govt to indiscriminately target all militant groups
DG ISI to travel to all provinces and brief ISI sector commanders
ISLAMABAD – In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and company has directed the military leadership to immediately take on the militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Haqqani Network as the delay in action is resulting in increased international pressure and diplomatic isolation, reported the daily Dawn on Thursday.
The civilian and military leadership of the country held two long rounds of deliberations on tensions with India and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Monday and Tuesday.
Prior to a top-level meeting on Monday, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry gave an exclusive briefing to a small group of civil and military officials. During which, he told the participants that the country has been facing a diplomatic isolation as ties with the US have deteriorated and will continue to further deteriorate until the demand of action against the Haqqani Network is met.
On the occasion, Chaudhry also informed the meeting that there has been a global pressure for the completion of investigation into Pathankot attack in India and action against groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
After Foreign Secretary’s candid presentation, Director General Inter-Service Intelligence Lt-General Rizwan Akhtar asked Aizaz Chaudhry what steps could be taken to prevent the isolation. At which, Chaudhry suggested a strict action against Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani Network, Dawn newspaper’s Cyril Almeida said while quoting unnamed sources present inside the meeting.
To Foreign Secretary’s unexpected and blunt response, the DG ISI said the government could arrest whosoever it wants.
At this point, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif jumped into the exchange of arguments and told Rizwan Akhtar that whenever civilian forces take action against these groups, the military establishment subtly takes steps to get these elements out of jail.
Assessing the sensitivity of the heated debate, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif interfered and addressed to the spy master that he was not being accused of something that happened in the past as a policy.
In the end, it was decided that DG ISI Lt-General Rizwan Akhtar, along with National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua, would travel all four provinces with a message to the provincial apex committees and the ISI sector commanders that intelligence agencies would not interfere in case of any action against the militant groups previously considered off-limits for civilian action.
The civilian and military leadership also agreed to conclude the Pathankot investigation as soon as possible and resume the stalled case of Mumbai attacks in the Rawalpindi ATC.
Senior journalist Cyril Almeida, with reference to unnamed sources, claimed that both Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry’s lucid responses to the DG ISI and Shahbaz Sharif’s intervention were actually engineered by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to trigger the debate with military leadership.
Quoting an unnamed government official the journo further reported: “Wait till November to see if action will be taken. By then a lot of things will be settled.”
It may also be noted here that only a limited number of civilian and military officials were present in the highly sensitive meeting which took place in Prime Minister’s Office, yet the reporter was able to obtain the significant details of the proceedings through certain sources.
Both the civilian and military leadership need to investigate into the matter and identify the insider who leaked such precise pieces of information to the media. As presence of such individuals in top-level meetings is a serious question mark on the confidentiality of the policy affairs.