Rashid defends govt’s approach against terrorism

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Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid Sunday said the national leadership has taken right direction to root out terrorism and extremism from the motherland with single mindedness.

In an interview to a TV channel, the minister said that after tragic incident of Peshawar, a significant change had appeared. In the past it was said that Pakistani state was confused and indecisive as far as the issue of tackling terrorism was concerned, but after the Peshawar tragedy the national consensus had been reached, altering the 35-year old mindset and approach within few days.

To a question, he said the services of armed forces have been acquired in the light of constitution, law and civilian discipline. He said that this time the purview and scope of the special courts has been extended as in past they used to hold trial of the accused related to army offences, or attack on defence installations, now special courts are being constituted to try cases of terrorism. He said that protection and security of its citizens was foremost responsibility of the state and the decision to form special courts has been taken by all stakeholders.

The senator said such courts will hold trial of terrorists who do not believe in democracy, constitution and the parliament and wanted to change the country’s lifestyle by force.

To a question, he said the civilian courts, as observed, had convicted very few hard-core criminals.

To another question, the minister said that most of suicide bombers were under 18 years and it was the need of the hour to hold their handlers accountable. He said several special courts would be constituted to try those who were involved in raising arms against the state.

The minister said that when some people give the impression that civilian dispensation was under pressure from the army, it sends a wrong signal at international level. National institutions he said were performing their role as per law and constitution.

To a query on former president Pervez Musharraf’s case, the minister said that the matter was sub-judice and the government cannot interfere in judicial matters, so law would take its own course. He said the government neither wanted to save nor trap anyone, adding it would not take any step which may give the impression of revenge.