ISLAMABAD: A meeting of parliamentary leaders under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is underway at the Prime Minister House to build a national action plan to counter terrorism and extremism in the country.

The country's leadership has worked rapidly to build consensus on the action plan following the horrific Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, which left over 140 dead – the majority of whom were children.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah are also attending the meeting, as are Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Peoples Party, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and senior PPP and MQM leaders.

A time for 'extraordinary measures'
Delivering the opening speech of the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked all the parties for their support and solidarity in the aftermath of the school attack.

“The way children were brutally killed...I don’t think there is any precedent in this country, or in the world. This is an extraordinary situation in the country which warrants extraordinary measures,” Nawaz said.

The premier added that, “Terrorism is a cancer-like disease and history will never forgive us if it is not treated now. The responsibility rests on all of us, and we have to take tough decisions against those who want to rip the country apart, those who are killing innocent children and have no mercy in their hearts.”

Nisar lays out recommendations
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar outlined some of the key points that would form the action plan against terrorism:

Since police forces require time to train, the Pakistan Army will help and support provincial governments directly.

10,000 Army personnel will be deployed in all four provinces to assist provincial security forces.

Article 245 of the Constitution is vital for the Pakistan Army to act in all areas.

Financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations must be stopped.

The Federal Red Book of most wanted terrorists needs to be updated regularly.

Civil and military understanding on the issue is critical. Consensus is needed when decisions are taken.

Misuse of media by the terrorists has to end. The solution may come through a media code of conduct.

In today's meeting, the recommendations made by the Anti-Terrorism National Action Plan Committee (ATNAPC) in Parliament House yesterday will be put forward for finalisation.

The anti-terrorism action committee headed by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had collected and discussed recommendations by the recently constituted anti-terrorism working group of counter-terror experts.

Read: Accord on need for speedy justice

Though the representatives of the country’s major political parties failed to reach a consensus on the establishment of military courts to try terrorists, they had agreed on the need for a speedy justice system to deal with terrorism cases.