A senate panel was told on Friday that a handful of people who appeared to be linked to proscribed militant groups and had sought to spread panic and terror in the scenic valley of Swat had been traced and apprehended.
This was disclosed by officials of law enforcement agencies during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence. The committee met at the hall at the Parliament Lodges on Friday with Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in the chair.
The committee began with a comprehensive briefing on the security situation in Swat, where there had been a scare of resurgent militants harassing locals and attacking civilian members of the local peace committee and soldiers.
Members of law enforcement agencies briefed the committee that the law and order situation in the valley is now under control.
There have been incidents, but the culprits have been traced and caught, the officials said.
The committee appreciated the role of the Malakand counter-terrorism department, whose police force, together with local contingents of levies and paramilitary forces, played a heroic role in preserving, protecting and promoting peace for locals.
There was consensus among committee members that there should not be any appeasement or compromise in upholding the rule of law.
All those committing crimes against citizens and the state must be caught, tried in court and given due punishment as per the law, they urged.
Unity on national security issues
In the wake of recent statements by senior leaders on the appointment of the next chief of army staff, Senator Sayed said issues of national security must remain above partisan politics.
There is a need for a “unified approach on national security”, he urged.
The committee’s chairman that the forum is representative of all political parties in the parliament. He added that the committee has always worked as a bridge between the armed forces and the parliament on national security issues.
He added that both, the government and opposition, as well as all the provinces, have worked together with the military through the forum.
The committee speaks above party lines in a unified manner, he added.
“On issues of national security, the Senate Defence Committee will continue to play its role with unity, vigor and determination,” he concluded.
The committee also received a briefing from the director general of the Federal Government Educational Institutions (FGEI) on the functioning of the department, which operates 386 schools in 66 cities of Pakistan.
The committee noted that the department is playing to promote national integration through education and resolved that its meagre budget needs to be raised and brought at par with Islamabad’s Federal Directorate of Education, which also operates a similar number of schools in the federal capital.
The committee also supported the proposal to set up a National University of Pakistan and Institute of Inclusive Education.