Security committee meeting underway at PM House

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PM Nawaz Shareef, COAS, Security Committee, TTP,ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) was meeting at the Prime Minister House on Thursday.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Rashad Mahmood, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila, Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam and Director-General Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan were present at the meeting.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is expected to take a decision on the future of the dialogue process with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), cabinet sources told Dawn.

The news about the previously undisclosed high-level meeting came on Wednesday and coincided with the Taliban announcement of not extending the 40-day ‘ceasefire’.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan was facing serious security challenges which need to be tackled and overcome.

Subsequently, the interior minister briefed the committee on the dialogue process.

Formed last August, the CCNS is the highest civil-military coordination forum on matters of national security and defence.

The top security body is headed by the prime minister and has foreign, defence, interior and finance ministers; Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and the three services chiefs as its members.

Apart from the TTP’s decision on ending its version of ‘ceasefire’, recent civil-military tensions form the background of the discussions at the second meeting of CCNS – the first this year.

While the agenda of the meeting is not known publicly, a source familiar with preparations earlier told Dawn that the agenda was quite expansive, but discussions on internal security and elections in Afghanistan would dominate the proceedings.

The meeting, which would be discussing the TTP move as well, is also expected to take stock of the Karachi Operation that is now into seventh month.

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