tv Pakistani Counterterrorism Efforts CSPAN March 31, 2015 5:02pm-6:22pm EDT
>> oh, let's get together. thank you, secretary. >> thank you. mr. holding. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, america's great country because of our people. our people are aspirational and entrepreneurial and intuitive. and i'm sure we could agree on that. >> i think we can. >> but when the american people see a budget which proposes more than $2 trillion in spending, more than $2 trillion in additional tax, more than $8 trillion in additional debt, a budget that never balances. and at the end of the day, you end up with bigger government and bigger debt. i don't think the intuition of the american people says that that's a success. and i don't think they look upon it as, you know, this is the way forward to ensuring that america is the greatest nation for our next generation.
i believe i'm the last person. i'm going to follow up on a couple of other members' queries. first following up on the doctor's question to you about theft of intellectual property in china. i know you've been involved and taken interest in this. and you've raised it with the chinese. obviously strong intellectual property rights, incredibly important to our economy. it's perhaps one of our largest and most productive assets as americans. if you could just take a brief moment and talk about what the administration is doing to address theft of our intellectual property by the chinese. because i was in china recently. and i can tell you i was singularly unimpressed with their efforts to prevent theft of intellectual property. >> congressman, i've raised this issue at the highest levels of the chinese government. i think they understand that they need to take more action in
this area. they have certainly indicated that they understand it's an issue. you know, the reality is, they for a long time denied that they had a problem. and, you know, now they have a system that is starting to deal with it. we have to be relentless in pushing our view forward on this. we have to make clear if china wants to be the world leader that it aspires to be, it has to play by the basic rules that the rest of the world plays by. and it's not limited to intellectual property. i make the case to china on currency. i make the case to china on market access. i make the case to china on competitiveness. i think it's in our interests for there to be a healthy china and it's in china's interest to be a healthy united states. but it has to be on fair terms. it can't be. >> right. >> and that's the question on the bit came up. one of the places to pursue the issues is in the context of the bit discussion.
because if they can't get to meet the world standard, they can't get a bit. >> all right. and you would also agree that, you know, the united states, our intellectual property laws are probably the gold standard around the world. and that's why innovation is such an important part of our economy. >> absolutely. >> innovate here. >> if i could interrupt, congressman, if you want your economy to do well in the future, you need to encourage innovation. and you can't do that unless you respect intellectual property rights. >> right. so you would also agree that in the current tpp negotiations, and as we consider tpa that we should be very mindful of addressing intellectual property protections when we negotiate with other countries and don't dumb down our own standards here in the united states to meet standards of countries where innovation and advancement and things like biologics are nowhere in comparison to the standards and the innovation that we have in this country,
correct? >> congressman, i think that we have to pursue a high standards discussion in a number of areas, intellectual property is one. but worker standards is another, environmental standards is another. and i heard a number of questions earlier about currency. and we take the issues of currency very, very seriously. we do it in the g-7 and the g-20 and our bilateral discussions, and we look forward to working with congress to figure out how to talk about it in the context -- >> good. a few other quick hits. congressman smith of nebraska asked you if you thought that inheritance tax was a double taxation, and you said you didn't think it was. so i assumed that you agree with me that it's actually a triple taxation. would i be correct in that assumption? >> no, sir. >> okay. >> for the record, i'm going to send to you a follow-up question or two on faca, with the rates the renunciation rates,
going through the roof. really the highest levels we've ever seen. i believe it's abhorrent that the american government is pursuing regulations and policies that would encourage americans to renounce their >> you run a tight ship. >> we really try thank you secretary lou for appearing with us today. i wanted members to be advises they may submit written questions to be answered later in writing. and that will also be reflective and included in the record for this hearing. we kept a tight ship. we got you on time and the hearing is adjourned.
the u.s. institute of peace organized this event. good morning everybody. thank you for joining us this morning. and welcome -- a special welcome to minister khan and ambassador jill gilani. and thanks all of you for making your way here. we are very pleased to host minister khan this morning. he is in town of course for a series of the countering violent extremism events hosted by the white house and state department. and this is an important conversation that we are very pleased he's able to be here for. i -- as many of you know am
still relatively new here as the president of uspip. and nonetheless i am looking forward to making one of my first trips to paxkistan in the next month or so. it's been a very important area of focus for usip since 2007. working with a partners pakistan and various research projects. we have also convened a number of events here, where we've been able to bring important thought leaders both from around world and from pakistan to discuss critical issues. we've had the privilege of hosting pakistan's prime minister, his excellence sysy sharif for his taking office. i'm especially pleased that ber able to do the same for mr.
khan as this is his first event in washington d.c. since taking his current position as minister of the interior in pakistan. this is however the 6th time he he has held a ministerial position over his years as one of pakistan's leading politician politicians of various portfolios. so we are very, very pleased to have him here with us today. we of course initiation to the interior, he was previously minister of science and technology, minister of petroleum. of natural resources. so a obviously a man of far- far-reach capabilities. after he's made remarks he'll be joined by moeed yusef for a brief conversation. he's our director. and most of you in the audience have received question cards.
i inviolentte you do note the questions down and we can include those in the conversation after the remarks. with that, i would like to welcome minister khan and invite him up to make some comments for us today. thank you. [ applause ] ms. [inaudible]. president of the institute my colleagues honorable ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a pleasure for me to be here amongst you this morning. at the outset i'd like to thank the u.s. institute for peace for providing me this opportunity to bracket with all of you here. and i would like to thank you
for taking out the time to be here. i've been told in the pakistan and the rest of the region across the border in afghanistan, to try and give you from the ground, so as to say the developments which have taken place over the last couple of months last couple of years. but bifr giveefore i give you the exact situation as it stands today i they certain perspective, a certain historical background also needs to be narrated in order to make sense of what i'm going to say. let me also apologize at the
outset that i don't have any written notes. so i'll be speaking off the cuff. so if i go off a tangent somewhere here and there, i hope you will excuse me. but i'll try and keep my conversation and my talk and my interaction with you as focused as possible. so that we are able to come to some kind of an understanding as to the situation in my part of the world. i think all of you know that packkistan has been in the eye of the storm for the last many years. starting in the late '70s when the soviet union invadedd
pakistan. it had the option to be neutral, it had the option of being quietly supportive of the soviet union or it had the option of stabbeding ing standing up to the communist invasion with the international community, and making itself be counted. we took the third option. it was a long war. a very difficult war. it was a very uneven war. because it was not a war between two superpowers. it was a war between a super power and an underdeveloped country which is being helped by other developing countries of the region. and which pakistan played a very proactive role. i think most of you will not probably be aware of the fact
that that. >> there's only one proxy war and that is of the afghanistan. if you go into the history they have all been failures. so i think that particular war is a testimony. to the alliance. to the friendship with the united states, pakistan, other countries of the free world which made us come out victorious, as i said n in a very, very difficult war. but the victory came with a price. once the victory flag went up,
the international community united states included, sang their national anthem pulled down their flags and left the region to the devils so as to say. so pakistan was left to pick up the pieces. the backlash. the negativity of a war between super powers. victory in the war did not lead to peace. it led to fragmentation. it led to turbulence -- political, military sectarian tribal. and there was nobody, absolutely nobody to try and make some sense of a solution.
pakistan received the major thrust of this backlash. we were still reeling from an avalanche of over 3 million refugees refugees. when things went from bad to worse and 9/11 happened. i am sure you must all be aware. and if you are not i'd just like to restate the fact that pakistan was in no way -- no pakistani was involved in the tragedy of 9/11. all of those who took part in this crime had absolutely no connection with pakistan in anyway. and when 9/11 happened within
pakistan itself, there were a few problems here and there law and order problems if i can call them that. but there was not a single instance of terror. there was not a single case of terror-related crime, of suicide bombings, of the situation as it exists today. again pakistan was asked to take a position. pakistan was then being governed by a military ruler. he decided to take a decision which was in many ways controversial. to this day it remains controversial. but he took a decision. and he decided to throw his lot in unilaterally, consciously and
fully with the international community. and the post 9/11 scenario. it has been 13 years now. from a total peaceful country, pakistan has been turned into a battle zone. we have lost over 50,000 lives in the last 13 years. as i said, pakistan or any of its population had absolutely nothing to do with the event of 9/11 -- with the tragic event of 9/11. but the backlash of 9/11 was totally taken by pakistan. if the role of pakistan had been appreciated, if the sacrifices which this country made had been
appreciated, if the very difficult circumstances in which pakistan found itself then and finds itself today even 13 years down the line, if there was a greater understanding of pakistan's position maybe all the sacrifices would have been worth it. but it has not been so simple. in spite of the sacrifices, are in spite of the turbulence in spite of the many lives lost, pakistan continues to be on the hit list of anybody who considers himself -- with due respect, and i'm sorry to use that term -- of most analysts and critics who have focused on the war in afghanistan. they have generally refused to
understand our predicts and our situation and totally focused on what they wanted pakistan to be and how they wanted it to be achieved. a few weeks ago in this state of turbulence and of violence and of terrorism we were hit by a singular incident which changed the mind set of every pakistani. this was the incident in which seven terrorists, and about this time, about 10:00 in the morning pakistan time climbed the walls of an public school right in the
heart of a city and blatantly mauled down anybody and everybody who came across them. over 145 lives were lost. most of them children. almost 133. young children. some of them [ inaudible ] were blatantly killed, without remorse. and in fact one of the excerpt communications which was picked up by our agencies conveyed something to the effect that one terrorist is calling up somebody in his head quarters and saying we have killed dozens of boys and girls. and he at once respond kill all of them. so it was a method to the madness. it was not that this took place
by accident or this was collateral damage. very consciously, very blatant ly ly, the target were the children of pakistan. mercifully this country has had only one 9/11. in the last 13 years pakistan has faced many 9/11s. similar incidents. but this particular incident and with the target being children per se changed the mind set of even those elements who felt that military operation is not the only way out of the crisis. so if i were to say that as far as changing the mind set of the people of pakistan, across the country and particularly changing the mind set of those special elements who still
looked upon the military option with a lot of suspicion, then this particular incident, this tragic incident which took place in bashar did actually contribute to that. it put the focus on the government on all the political forces. our country's prime minister at once on the very next day convened a meeting of all the major political parties. after the meeting there was a very high profile meeting of the civilian and military leadership. the entire military hierarchy was there and similarly the civilian leadership was there. and it was decided that we have to now take the bull by the horns. yes we have been engaged in this exercise for last 13 years. but it was a roller coaster
ride. we would take a few steps ahead and then for some reason or the other, one or the other step had to be taken back. i think if one single incident has proved to be a catalyst -- sorry to use that term. but a catalyst so as to say in much the same way 9/11 did in this country to somehow nudge the people of pakistan the civil society the political forces, the civil/military leadership the media to come on one platform and work out an agenda to eliminate these criminal s criminals, these animals, then
i'm very very clear that the incident did that. including parties and those of the religious background. there are a few political parties also who have been consistently against any kind of military operation against the terrorists. they have always emphasized on the need for dialogue. but after this incident there was only one voice. there was only one message. there was only one agenda. that we must avenge the little angels. not only because they were our children. but also because of the fact that the people whom we were trying to somehow bring into the
mainstream mainstream, who we were trying to engage through dialogue if that was their mind set that there are no limitations on who they kill there are no limitations on their barbarity on their cruelty, on their inmallin animal instincts. so there is a feeling that if they are the people we are handling or engaging we have been wasting our time. and they would only understand, you know, the language in which they were speaking. so the operation the military operation against them which was started some time last year was activated. a national action plan was worked out. it is a 20-point national action plan. i happened to chair the meeting of all the political parties,
which worked together over many hours and over many days. within a seven daytimes timeline we through mutually consensus evolved a national action plan. i was very happy to see the agenda of the summit meeting that we are having here in the united states. at least 11 or 12 points in the national election plan coincide with the agenda items of the counterterrorism summit which is taking place here in washington. so i'm very happy to exchange views with the international community, our ally our friends, the united states of america and other partners to try and identify the best way forward.
i think pakistan has never been so focused as it is now on the job at hand. there has never been this kind of unity over the last 13 years. and there's never been this kind of unity of purpose, which has emerged across the length and breadth of the country. but having said that let me also say that it is not an easy task. all the troubles, all the problems that have been built up over the last 13 years, they will take a lot of effort cleansing. more importantly once the pressure on the terrorists has increased, once they have been
put to the wall, once our frontiers and across the area have been destroyed, they have gone across the border and they are trying to reorganize themselves. and since their headquarters have been destroyed now they are going for the worst option. they are going for the softest targets. they attack schools. they attack religious places of worship. they attack marketplaces where people normally congregate in large numbers during the daytime. now the option for us are very difficult. we obviously can't close down our schools. we can't close down our places of worship. we can't close down our markets.
we have to keep normal life flowing. that is the most important aspect and the most important obligation and responsibility of the government. at the same time we have to protect our country and our people against terrorists. we are not foreigners. they are not of a different color. they don't speak a different language. they cannot be recognized on the street. as a people any different from the rest of us. they are the same stock. they speak the same language. they are the same color. they wear the same clothes. so how do you then sift the terrorist from the normal citizen? it is a very very difficult ask. but as i said for the first time an environment has been created in which the government is moving forward on a very, very
fast track. traditionally and historically, there has been a divide. and i'll be very open and candid about it over the last 10 or 12 years. between the civil and the military on how this operation against terrorism should move forward. it originated basically because the decision taken by general mush raf created consequences. that led to a lot of decisions within the military itself. mercifully we managed to wade through the initial few years mu. and as time went on the system started to institutionalize and things began to get better. but as i saidky not say that the
last 13 years have been consistent in this aspect. but giving you this historical background i think my idea was to apprize you of the difficulties of the way forward. it is important now not to harp on what has gone in the past. important to look to the future and it is an area about which we are now, well, hopefully optimistic optimistic. because unless and until there is a clarity of purpose, a clarity of vision, you cannot expect to move forward.
so trying not to be to modest i would still like to take the dlaet credit that when this government took over years ago we knew and we were very conscious of the fact that the last several years or so pre 2013, the one single largest factor which has effected pakistan's fight against terrorism was the lack of unity. so the prime minister in september 2013 convened a meeting of all parties. it was an all parties conference. and it was decided in the first instance to engage the militants in some kind of dialogue with the condition that any dialogue which takes place will take
place under the constitution of pakistan. that whole process took about 8 months. for the first time in the history of this kind of negotiations and dialogue, those people came down from the hills and engaged in formal dialogue with a civilian leadership. within a few -- in a matter of weeks we became conscious of the fact that they were operating on a two -point agenda. they were on the one hand talking to us and on the other, some segments of the terrorists were engaging in the same terrorist activities so as to put increasing pressure on the government to agree to their demands. and the bottom line came when
they attacked one of our main karachi in pakistan. one of our main ports. and after that we broke off the process. and we went for the operation of the military operation. let me tell you that the dialogue process was important. for the military operation to take place. as i've said repeatedly there were a lot of divisions between the political parties and hierarchies, particularly parties to the right of center, about the decision to eliminate the terrorists through a military operation. apart from so many other
problems, one of the main issues that was constantly talked about was the fact that this is not pakistan's war. this was a foreign war. more specifically a united states war, which has been imposed on this region. and pakistan army is actually fighting a foreign super power's war. successive governments have fighting the united states' war. so the option of the dialogue process, on which all the parties were united was to ensure that we play out the dialogue process. we engage in the dialogue process with all our leaders. not a facade. we were very honest in engaging the other side in this dialogue process. unfortunately as i said it didn't last very long. and then when the decision to undergo or to carry out the military operation was taken
another meeting was convened. and because of the situation on the ground all of the political parties came on board. so that element of unity, that element of community participation, that element of fighting the terrorists from the steeps and the markets of pakistan, engageing the youth engaging the women, that i think was practically used in pakistan pakistan. and practically i think now it is a part of the policy of fighting terrorism within pakistan. what are the areas of concern as of today. the positive thing is that almost all the headquarters of
the terrorist organizations within pakistan -- and they were very close to the border -- have been destroyed. over 2,000 terrorists have been killed in the operation. some of them very important figures of terrorist network. there is a general support for the military operation. across the country. that divide which existed in the first few years between the civilian and the military has been completely erased. and i can now say, as somebody whose responsible for internal security, that the civil and
military in pakistan are working in very close harness. not only at the strategic level. not only the operational level, but also at the strategic level. and that gives a lot of space for the government to work out its strategy on a long-term basis. but we also have the negatives. one of the negative -- one of the major negatives is our concern about the capacity of the administration across the border to handle the situation in the absence of the isil forces of the foreign support which had been extended to this country post 9/11.
i do not see any restriction in numbers as far as the military strength of the extremist groups are concerned. i'm talking about afghanistan. but the strength of the coalition forces had gone down drastically. at the time of the search there was anything upwards of about 140,000 isif troops. over and above the foreign troops in afghanistan. now there will be just around 10,000. and they will be restricted to the major towns and the major bases. and their objective is going to be mainly defensive in nature. so the crucial question which is going to come to face us over the next couple of months is
will the region be able to protect itself after draw down of the foreign force. this as crucial question that is going to be answered in the next two, three months. the positive in this respect has been the very close coordination -- i hope i'm not -- human nature time do we have? the very close coordination and cooperation between pakistan and afghanistan. i think relations between afghanistan and pakistan have never been better. historically. and that is a very, very big positive for stability in the region. there have been a few insides on
both sides of the border. and for the first time there have been no finger points from either side. our agency intelligence agencies and security agencies have been working very closely. there have been visits at the highest level. the afghanistan president had been here. our foreign minister has gone to afghanistan. the security chief has been to afghanistan. he was there yesterday. i think this is probably his third visit. and similarly the intelligence chiefs have been constantly in coordination. and in close touch with each other. this is a relationship which is of vital importance to bring some kind of sanity in the region. but it is also important that the focus of the international community must remain as focused as before.
in fact, probably there is a greater need for the focus to be even more considered. because there are certain areas in which the support of the international community is vital. i think meetings, conferences like the one we are having right now, play an important role in keeping that coordination moving forward. but my personal view is that interaction and coordination should take place at the regional level at the local level. you can't generalize the problem which the international community faces as far as terrorism is concerned.
you cannot coordinate the extremists in south asia and the middle east or in north africa. they have separate agendas. one thing i'm very concerned is the tendency of the international community to generalize the extremist threat all over the world. i think whereas there are certain common strandengths. but the regional aspect must be emphasized. the regional genesis the regional origins, the regional agendas must be emphasized. only then we will be able to bring or suggest solutions in fighting these extremists in their own regions. lastly, there has been a lot of concern shown all over.
by the recent development of the extremist threat in north africa and particularly in the middle east. there's also been a lot of concern about the extension of this threat to south asia. as of now i can say quite confident ly confidently, with a lot of confidence that the isis that exists today for the time being it is totally a middle eastern phenomenon. it has absolutely no presence in afghanistan and pakistan. there has been a lot of media hype about this. there have been a lot of very responsible people talking about the threat of isis to that part
of the world. like i was talking to our ambassador here in washington. the space in south asia, the -- space is almost totally occupied. the ttp have their own agendas. they -- i do not foresee them sharing that platform with other agendas with a group like isis. the isis at the moment is totally focused on the middle east. the agenda is totally middle eastern. but in the future unless and until we address the regional threats, unless we address the international threats yes you cannot rule out the possibility
of a grand alliance later on. isis threat, i think would not be a wise thing to do. to the international community to the emerging isis threat could lead to a lessening of the focus in south asia. that i feel must not happen. it has gone into the reduceing the threat in afghanistan and the borders of pakistan. we need to further cement and
further coordinate our efforts for the mopping up operation so as to say. and we must not repeat the mistakes of the '90s whether the united states and the international community after the defeat of the soviet union left a huge vacuum in afghanistan and in south asia enabling the militants to occupy that place. that vacuum under no condition must be left open. it is important for us to learn from our mistakes. it is important for us to learn from our history. it's important to not underestimate or overestimate the threat from the extremists and from the militants. i think it's not just pakistan,
internationally i see a grand coalition and grand consensus building up over the barbaric nature and cruelty that are these militant groups. i think we need to work together hand in hand, brick-and-mortar so as to say you know, right in the nitty-gritty. we need to work together. as parts of the civilized world and try to eliminate, discourage of terrorism in all its form and all its aspect. pakistan is -- has been playing that role for the last 13 years. we are now renewed in our commitment to fight, discourage, not only within the borders of
pakistan but in the region, even beyond. we are fully committed and we are willing and hoping that the international community will work with countries like pakistan to make that happen. i thank you for your attention. [ applause ] >> thank you for your remarks and for bringing out the challenges and opportunities that pakistan has as you move forward. what we do have is a few questions for you from the audience and a couple from myself and have a conversation before we end. let me begin, if i may, you talked about the 9/11 of pakistan and to the nation being moved. i was there myself during that time. i saw that happen. it was remarkable in some ways.
this is not the first time we saw the situation move what does pakistan do to keep this sentiment and the support going without having major attacks take place that galvanize people for a time being and then we seem to forget? >> first and foremost, i think we must keep the momentum against the terrorists on at a very high level. more and more success on the battlefield will motivate the people of pakistan. focus on the regional perspective. there might be quite a few things which we might not do or might not come up to the expectations of the
international community. it's important the international community must understand the problems that we face. so on that account, that perception that, impression must not go across that we are constantly being asked to do more. that impression must not go across that we're fighting somebody else's war. that impression must not go across that we take directions from some other country. if we are fighting it as we're fighting today as pakistan's own threat, as pakistan's own war, we continue to get reserves on the battlefield and we manage to evolve a strategy for protecting cities schools, towns in other words, strengthening our internal security. i think the momentum and the
fervor will not evaporate. >> do you feel that pakistani state over the years has done enough to reactivate and convince its own public that this is pakistan's war? there have been times as you talked about the civil military disconnect in the earlier part post 9/11 where there was some mixed messages even for pakistani people in some ways. >> i think we get into the details and it will take a long time. yes, there have been failings. i don't know if it's part of the state or chain of events. it's not hand ld as it should be. starting from the day the general took the decision without consensus and without paying anybody onboard. there are missed opportunities. so having said that let me go back to the earlier mark that
you made. so there are other horrendous incidents, no doubt but there is never this coming together of the pakistani nation. that is the reason i compare it with 9/11. so it's coming together of pakistan has happened for the first time. and that is the positive area that we need to work on. the failings i think are destined ones. there are better titles for the country. >> let me also ask new the same vain sort of having worked with the pakistani public sector and otherwise over the years, i found pakistan has done fairly well in coming up with policies and visions on what to change and what to do. the implementation inevitably lags. so we had the national internal security policy that you aur thord authored a year ago. how does the action plan relate
to that? and why do we need n.a.p. if the nisp was already a vision to do exactly what the state has to do now? >> well, you go from pakistan you know we normally or most of the time we act first and strategize later. we've been engaged in this war. a lot of it was off the cuff a lot of this was knee jerk. there are a lot of problems on who was responsible and who was accountable. it was imperative to have a strategy, have a policy. so that is the reason we worked almost six months. we worked with the military. we worked with the provinces,
the provinces are a very very important part in the whole organization and the setup and it was difficult. it was easier working with the military. it was more difficult working with my fellow colleagues and the provinces. we worked with a whole lot experts with the media, national security experts and took almost seven to eight months to come up with this policy paper. part of it was implemented. you know i could sit and discuss the policy with you for hours. but it was not announced for the simple reason that we cut corners. we cut ends. it would have taken anything upwards of a year to a year and
a half to put in place. we as a short term measure have the civil arms forces and forces from the military to act as a response force. before we announced it in fact pakistanis were jolted by this revelation that we have almost 33 -- not almost, but exactly 33 intelligence agencies working in pakistan. i mean a country engaged in the war against extremism for room intelligence agencies rule and work is of paramount importance. you'll be surprised to know that even at the very high level we were not aware of the total number of agencies. now most of these agencies were working in competition with each other. sometime at various times with each other. they were never sharing information. i can say now that there has
been a sea change. i won't say that there's been a total transformation but a sea change from june 2013. there's a lot of intelligence sharing. there is a lot of close coordination. if a certain agency is looking a certain area and the lead moves on to another area where another agency is working without a moment's hesitation, we pass on the information and let the other agencies take over. like i would give you more than a few incidents in this regard. so a joint intelligence directory, which was a dream a few years ago, is operationally working. yes. most of it is being handled by the military. but it is working under the ministry of interior. so it is working under the intelligence -- under the civilian leadership. a whole lot of other things. national internal security
policy was the organizational and administrative and strategic policy people that we announced over a year ago. >> thank you. let me sort of just ask one more thing on the coordination part since you mentioned it. we at usip published a book last year an pakistan's counter-terrorism challenge, getting pakistani experts to write on various aspects of it. one thing that came out across the whole book, there is a common thread, was nafta. in the history of nafta is not too pretty having started, became a political football one
place to another. that has to be the apex body that takes sort of the front and center role off the counter-terrorism task. where do you see nafta going from there? is this a paradigm shift as we're seeing now or are we still deciding what its role is going to be? >> it's just a start. there is too much competition between agencies, between departments. so for nafta to become a sea change, to you know basically assume the role that it was designed to play, i think it will take a bit of time. but a start has been made. the minister of interior is taking a pro active role to try to build that framework under which nafta can work as a totally independent body. it will take a little bit of
time. it took two years to get the act together. a country like pakistan, the systems are not as strong as they are here in the united states. i think it will probably take time. i think for the first time everybody's convinced that nafta has a role. and you need to -- every department, every organization needs to see space to nafta for it to play that overall coordinating and pro active role which i think is important if we are to be successful in this fight against extremism. >> okay. let me ask once more question and then we have a few to go through the audience. we talked about the ttp as being the perpetrators. we talked about the safe havens. there is a whole slew of other
organizations that we have to look at when we look at terrorism and pakistan. just this morning we had another major attack in pakistan. this is the fourth in the last month and a half. there are also reports that one has activity in another part of the country and complicating the problem in some ways. how does your national action plan and how does the planning after the attack address the sectarian groups and then if i may add, there is that whole question of southern punjab. no one is ever clear what threat it poses. so is this plan comprehensive enough to deal with it or it is stretched in a way it has to sequence this? >> obviously, we will have to sequence it and the questions of capacity problems and build up over the years. it will take time.
but as to the success, we'll have to work over time to address the sectarian problem. the sectarian problem has been there for almost 30 years now if not earlier. one of the options of the jihad was that these elements went and joined the jihad and then use that as a platform to attack sectarian groups. it's a problem for over 30 years. it is difficult because it's insular. we were just talking about the accident and another one. the difficulty here is that these people do not come from outside. they're living amongst you.
there normally indirect to word of mouth. direct communication. so it is very difficult. as i said in my initial remarks, you can't close down your business places. you have to keep life going. it is a difficult process. what is the strategy of the next plan? use the consensus buildup on the fight against extremism and use the religious elements amongst the community to try and work out lowest common denominator of understanding of tolerance between the various sectarian groups. and this is not just hog wash. this is not just talk.
i think within the first few weeks we were able to do that. i chaired a meeting of all the various segments of society and we were able to work out an agreement on reform. this never happened in the history of pakistan. and that included auditing funds. that included registration. that included transparency of curriculum. and a whole host of other things. so we need to work from the inside to address the sectarian problem. there is no outside factor or force which can dissolve the sectarian problem in mack stan. we're trying to work from the inside and hopefully over the next few weeks you will see improvement in this regard. but the sectarian attacks which are taking place right now
there are terrorist related. it is unofficially part of the ttp. this is the reaction to the military operation. this is not totally the sectarian divide which is being targeted. this is totally terrorist related and since most of their activity has been limited by the military operation, so they are using the sectarian divide through the group for -- you know, to hit the save thor targets. >> what do you make of the reports that they are targeting some of the nationalists at the same time? >> it's not just this group. in fact, a lot of movement of the terrorists have taking place once the military operation took
place. a lot of them moved across afghanistan. then there is a certain corridor which use the afghanistan territory and then they cross over into pakistan. there are groups that have moved into those parts. it is based operations by our military and civil arms forces and the police. we managed in a very major way to restrict activities and to curtail the violence. we don't always make it public. the pakistani government is focused. the military is focused on this developments in afghanistan, the
transformation that is taking place. the migration of the terrorists into vast areas of the area. but i think generally speaking, things are under control. >> there are two or three questions at least and i'll sort of lump them together about the band organizations and the recent move to ban more organizations. and the concerns expressed here are, one, there's been history of banned organizations using new names and coming up and doing what they were doing in the past. there is also specific concerns here about groups that seem to be anti-indian.
what are the concerns of the operations continuing? >> i'm almost embarrassed to give you feedback on this because it's not a question of this government, past governments. what the past governments have done, that goes into the area of responsibility of the state of pakistan. there have been very vague policies on these and other issues. and that has led to a lot of confusion on the number of prescribed organizations even though they haven't prescribed or gone into other areas with different names.
there were governments that they took a decision on. so it was a difficult area and almost embarrassed to give you you know this particular feedback. but over the last few months we have thought pro actively. there is now a tremendous unanimity amongst all sections of the government on treating every prescribed organizations with the same rule and same stick. over a spread of sop years it led to a lot of looseness on the part of the government in this respect. it will take a little bit of time. but the positive thing is that
there is now a consensus that anybody picking up arms must be disciplined, must be brought to book, must be prevented. no armed militias should be allowed in pakistan. and only official security agencies should be allowed to carry arms. that is a policy being implemented. various groups have been arranged out of state put in jail. there are militias have been put if jail. so it's a major step forward. but it's going to take time. giving a free hand, most of these groups over the years has
given rise to a lot of problems. but now the commitment is to treat everybody alike. and you'll see improvement in this area. and sooner rather than later. >> so we lost your microphone somewhere there. so if we can -- i think it's -- that's good. if i may, let me push you a little bit more on this. specifically on the question of groups that this town talks a lot about and one is asked over and over. those are groups that may not be doing anything in pakistan. but are seen as being operational elsewhere. so the groups being the obvious ones maybe the insurgent groups being the obvious one. some of the concerns arise because for instance people see on tv december 4th as a big
rally. and then it's also listed as one of the organization that's is to be banned or taken to task or whatever. this dichotomy, i think, confuses a lot of people about the intent of the pakistani state. >> when i speak of the pakistani state as to have day, i cannot speak about the intentst pakistani state or various pakistani governments over the years. >> sure. >> but more importantly, the international community have understood the point of view in this respect of successive pakistani governments. so i blame us at this area of time. i think the intent in this respect is very, very clear. our point of view is you take a bit of time. things have recessed that can you not expect overnight solutions. the intent is there which is never there before. and actions have been taken over the last few weeks which are
manifestation of that intent. >> oodanother question in the same vain and you pointed to the improving relations at the track one level. but the question pertains to the perception of pakistan's policy. and specifically to the presence of inurgent groups in pakistani territory. and so the question from the audience is what would you tell an average afghan today if they were to raise the same concern? what is it to show that policy has moved on from the past? the government of pakistan is telling them. it's a reflection on the ground. it started last year in june. it has given very, very positive
results. and i think it's not just within pakistan. there is a variance across the border. but having said that let me also say that there is a whole area on the border between pakistan and afghanistan which is inhabited by tribes which live on both sides of the border. so movement across the border is a phenomenon. and so these terrorists have used these means of communication this open and porous border to move freely between pakistan and afghanistan. i can say with a lot of confidence that, most of the terrorist groups have run across the border into afghanistan. we are now working very closely
with the afghan government to work out a strategy, to not through a joint operation but through coordination, operate. they're on their side and we're on our side. and once that particular exercise takes place, a lot of the concerns that you have expressed will die out automatically. >> okay. let me just ask a couple more before we end. on afghanistan-pakistan one of the irritants, if you will, is in terms of the status of afghan refugees in pakistan. what is the policy at the moment? thert first ones with legal documents are missing, there are problems or whenever there is a
crackdown in that sense, they tend to stand out, perhaps. >> no we never see this problem that you recount. there is upwards of three million at one time. three have gone back. there are three 3.2 million there and there are thousands without papers. it is a huge drain on our economy. but most importantly, we have hosted them for the last 30 years and we're willing to host them for many years as long as necessary. as for the agreement, they're able to stick themselves to camps.
they will lend a hand sposhgtsupporting hand. all of that there is not on the ground. no cam subpoena populated now. they all moved out of camps. they are living in populated areas. they have their own society so as to say. and a lot of terrorists coming from across the border and even from within the front here use the camps -- use these avenues to carry out terrorist activities in pakistan.