Consensus Anti-Terrorism Resolution in Pakistan Parliament

Historic 14-point anti-terrorism resolution adopted unanimously :

Nation united against terrorism: parliament
* Dialogue will be primary instrument of conflict resolution
* Redistribution of resources to resolve Balochistan violence
* Civil agencies will replace military in troubled areas
* Compensation for violence victims, rehabilitation for the displaced

By Irfan Ghauri and Muhammad Bilal, Daily times, October 23, 2008

ISLAMABAD: In a historic resolution on Wednesday, the parliament said the Pakistani nation was united against terrorism and sectarian violence and would tackle the problem by addressing its root causes.

The 14-point resolution, drafted after two days of rigorous negotiations, was passed unanimously. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani moved the resolution, which he said would serve as policy guideline to the government in framing a national security strategy.

“Extremism, militancy and terrorism in all forms and manifestations pose a grave danger to the stability and integrity of the country,” the resolution said. “Dictatorial regimes in the past pursued policies aimed at perpetuating their own power at the cost of national interest. “We need an urgent review of our national security strategy and revisiting the methodology of combating terrorism in order to restore peace and stability to Pakistan and the region through an independent foreign policy.”

Dialogue: The parliament decided that “dialogue must now be the highest priority, as a principal instrument of conflict management and resolution”, but also said talks would only “be encouraged with all those elements willing to abide by the constitution of Pakistan and rule of law”.

The legislators decided that all foreign fighters, “if found, shall be expelled from Pakistan’s soil”.

The parliament vowed that Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be safeguarded. “The nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively,” the resolution said, but added: “Pakistan’s territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries.”

They also decided that “the development of troubled zones, particularly the Tribal Areas, and the NWFP must also be pursued through all possible ways and legitimate means to create genuine stakeholders in peace. New economic opportunities shall be created in order to bring the less privileged areas at par with the rest of Pakistan”.

Balochistan: On the problem in Balochistan, the resolution called for “a political dialogue with the people, addressing of their grievances and redistribution of resources shall be enhanced and accelerated”.

It said the federation must be strengthened “through the process of democratic pluralism, social justice, religious values and tolerance, and equitable resource sharing between the provinces as enshrined in the Constitution of 1973”.

Military: The state must ensure rule of law, the unanimous resolution said, and “when it has to intervene to protect the lives of its citizens, caution must be exercised to avoid casualties of non-combatants in conflict zones”. The legislators demanded that military be replaced with civilian law enforcement agencies in the conflict zones as early as possible, “with enhanced capacity and a sustainable political system achieved through a consultative process”.

The state must establish its writ, they demanded, but through “confidence building mechanisms by using customary and local [jirgas]”. Pakistan’s strategic interests must be protected “by developing stakes in regional peace and trade, both on the western and eastern borders”.

Compensation and rehabilitation: The parliament decided that the “mechanisms for internal security be institutionalised by paying compensation to victims of violence; and rehabilitate those displaced”.

The parliament also decided to form a committee to periodically review “the implementation of the principles framed and roadmap given in the resolution”. The committee will frame its own rules when it meets.

Also see:
Pakistan lawmakers urge security strategy review - International Herald Tribune
Parliament's role in fighting terror - Nasim Zehra, The News


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