ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The national security conference began in Islamabad on Saturday to discuss the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the militants in the North Waziristan tribal region and the internal security situation.
The conference was being attended by the chief ministers, federal ministers, Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam, Director General Military Operations Major General Amir Riaz and other senior officers.
In his opening remarks at the conference, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the country cannot afford political confrontation at a time when the armed forces are fighting terrorists and efforts are afoot to revive the economy.
The prime minister called upon the political parties to play responsible role and stand shoulder to shoulder to steer the country out of all challenges.
Sharif thanked the political leaders for attending the moot, and also invited those parties who have given call of long marches to sit on the negotiating table to strengthen the system. He said we have to collectively protect the country from internal and external conspiracies.
There is no justification of long marches against a government that has been in office for only a year now, Sharif said.
The prime minister said that there is consensus amongst the political parties on rule of law and continuation of the democratic set up. He said that those raising slogans of revolution want to spread anarchy in the country which is not acceptable.
Sharif said that the federal government is ready to sit with Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) to address their genuine demands.
Nawaz Sharif said that a new beginning was made in the wake of 2013 general elections as the federal government accepted the mandate of all the political parties.
“We not only accepted the mandate of other parties in their respective provinces but also extended cooperation to them to live up to the expectations of the masses.”
Moreover, he said that Pakistan needs peace to achieve the objectives of development and socio-economic stability. He said that significant progress has been made on the economic front and the international companies have also recognised these achievements and improved the country’s ranking.
The premier said that the Zarb-e Azb operation was launched after a spate of terrorist attacks including the one on Karachi airport.
“By and large there is consensus amongst the political parties and civil society about the operation. Those who have reservations on the operation can raise their voice in today’s moot,” the prime minister said.
Sharif, however, reminded that the government gave dialogue process a chance to deal with the issues but this did not yield any positive outcome and terrorist attacks continued.