Pakistan an example to the world on how to crush insurgency — minister

Pakistan an example to the world on how to crush insurgency — minister

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was hailed as an international example of how to fight terror by Pakistan’s minister for the interior at the launch of the first Islamabad International Counter Terrorism Forum (IICTF). “Pakistan has come out victorious in this war [against terrorism] and every institution of the world considers it as an emerging power,” said Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday. The minister was addressing leading Pakistani counterterrorism and counter-extremism experts on Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate terrorism from its soil. The three-day conference, organized by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), was being attended by diplomats, UN representatives, international experts, religious scholars, academics, parliamentarians, law makers as well as civil and military officials. Pakistan is still tormented by the fallout of the Afghan war, said Iqbal. He urged international representatives to note recent atrocities committed against Kashmiris in Indian-administered Kashmir as he pressed the international community to work toward conflict resolution. Conflict is a catalyst to extremism and terrorism, the minister added. Iqbal said that “responsibility rests with the world community to ensure that the blood and suffering of any citizen, regardless of his faith and ethnicity, has equal sanctity. Otherwise, the terrorist outfits will exploit the situation to their advantage.” The counter-terrorism forum called “Pakistan’s Endeavors and Achievements in Countering Extremism/ Terrorism (PEACE), has been spearheaded by NATCA’s National Coordinator, Lt. Cdr. (Retd) Ihsan Ghani. IICTF showcased Pakistan’s transition from a terrorist-ravaged nation to a progressive state, crushing the insurgency that overshadowed its true identity — but at a high price. Dr. Kamaluddin Tipu, a former NACTA member from the Police Services of Pakistan, told Arab News that NACTA, which was set up eight years ago, has responsibility for framing policies, researching the causes of terrorism and developing responses. However, he added: “This conference will help in refining those policies and come up with solutions that are real challenges for the time being for Pakistan.” In an interview with Arab News, former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani, praised the IICTF: “A lot of other countries faced with terrorism or extremism can also learn a lesson or two from Pakistan.” Pleased with the success of the launch day, NACTA organizers told Arab News, the forum is to be held annually. Up to 700 people attended the first day. The forum also displayed an online reporting portal and mobile app for Pakistanis to report extremism, which is called Surfsafe. Evamp and Saanga, the digital tech company that developed the product for NACTA, told Arab News, that it was important to fight extremism digitally. Anwar Khan, CEO of the tech company, said the Surfsafe app enabled “the common citizen to report anything suspicious and anything deemed as a hate crime. According to the number of downloads we’ve seen in past month, it seems to be pretty effective. “More and more we are seeing terrorism, recruiting, planning and executing online, so it is imperative today for Pakistan to have a strong digital counter terrorism presence,” he concluded