The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) decided on Wednesday to utilise `all means` to eliminate terrorists and their sanctuaries in the country and reaffirmed its confidence in the ability of the security agencies to deal with threats to national security. “Security, defence and law-enforcement agencies will be authorised to use all means necessary to eliminate terrorists and militants,” a statement issued by the prime minister`s office after the committee`s meeting said. The second DCC meeting in less than a fortnight was presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and attended by federal ministers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the three services` chiefs and the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It was convened to discuss the security situation in the aftermath of the brazen weekend attack on the PNS Mehran base in Karachi. In his opening comments, the prime minister called for revisiting the counter-terrorism strategy. Although the use of `all means` was mentioned twice in the statement, it wasn`t clear whether it meant the toughening of anti-terror laws or an intensifying military campaign to root out militants` sanctuaries in different parts of the country. Prime Minister Gilani said the country was entering a `defining phase` in the fight against terrorism. It would be too early to say if the civil and military leadership have decided to act decisively against terrorists, but the statement suggested so when it said that national security demanded tough decisions. “National security is the foremost priority and all arms of the government will ensure that terrorists` hideouts will be destroyed using all appropriate means.” The DCC agreed that like the Swat operation, national consensus should be built prior to initiating an action against terrorists. “The national consensus on eliminating terrorism will be implemented through a well-coordinated and comprehensive strategy.” The committee called for “full public support” in the new phase in the fight against terrorism. The attack on the naval base raised questions about the ability of the security agencies to defend strategic installations, fuelling global concerns about the prospects of nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists. Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, just a day earlier, said safety of Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal had become a matter of concern after the new attack. Rejecting such concerns, the statement said: “The DCC expressed full confidence in the ability and the capacity of the armed forces and law- enforcement and intelligence agencies in meeting all threats to national security.” The prime minister said: “Under the National Command Authority we have an effective command and control system for ensuring the safety and security of our nuclear weapons and related systems. These arrangements conform with the highest international standards and practices followed by other nuclear weapon states.”
By: Dawn News