ISI tells MPs to enact tough anti-terror laws

* NA committee told sectarian terrorist organisations like LeJ posing renewed threat to peace * MNA says reservations of security agencies must be taken seriously

ISLAMABAD: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on Tuesday asked lawmakers to formulate strong laws to defeat terrorism.
An ISI brigadier on Tuesday briefed the parliamentarians on national security during an in-camera session of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence, which was led by MNA Shaikh Rohail Asghar. The lawmakers were astonished that the briefing did not include anything on the peace talks with the TTP. However, the security scenario in Balochistan and Karachi was discussed. During the briefing, the ISI official repeatedly referred to the National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and shared details from the security policy document. 
He said that sectarian terrorist organisations were posing a renewed threat to the country’s peace. He particularly referred to the increasing activities of sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, saying the security agencies were acting against such notorious organisations. The official said it is the collective responsibility of politicians, security forces, government, civil society and people of Pakistan to join hands against terrorism and make, and support laws that strengthened security forces’ hands in their fight against terrorism.
Talking to reporters after the briefing, Shaikh Rohail said the briefing was satisfactory. “Problems and grey areas have been pinpointed in the meeting, which is a good sign. We hope this would be a productive addition in our efforts for the elimination of terrorism,” he said. The MNA said the reservations of the security agencies needed to be considered to forge unity among the stakeholders in order to defeat terrorism. “Media has a very crucial role to play in this regard. The media has frontline role to build consensus among the entire nation that terrorism is the greatest threat to Pakistan,” he said.
Sources in the National Assembly Defence Committee said the ISI official said strong laws were required so that the missing persons’ issue was resolved. “Missing persons are those people who are involved in heinous kinds of terror activities,” sources quoted the brigadier as saying. Later, a senior defence official, on the condition of anonymity, told journalists after the defence committee meeting that the role of Pakistan and United States was crucial to bringing peace in the region. 
“Both Pakistan and the US want a peaceful Afghanistan and peaceful South Asia. Premature troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan will create problems,” he said, adding that the US and Pakistan both recognised this fact. The government representatives for peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban held comprehensive consultations with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and ISI chief Lieutenant General Zahirul Islam in Islamabad on Monday with the aim to fine-tune the talks agenda. The government, according to sources, has been convinced to a greater extent that TTP has no links with violent acts which occurred across the country after their declaration of a unilateral month-long ceasefire. Since the TTP announced ceasefire, sporadic violence surfaced in several cities, including Peshawar, Islamabad, Quetta and Karachi. 
The violence plaguing the country has continued despite the peace talks. Police on Monday found the bullet-riddled body of a kidnapped female health worker dumped in a field on Monday, an official said. Salma Ghani, about 32 years old, was taken by five unidentified men from outside her house in Peshawar on Sunday. 

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