Sharif vows action against all militant groups

A security guard is on the alert after the attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan. (Mohammad Sajjad, AP)
A security guard is on the alert after the attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan. (Mohammad Sajjad, AP)

Islamabad - Pakistan on Sunday pledged further action to combat militants, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif admitted progress had often been slow, speaking just days after a deadly attack by heavily armed gunmen on a university campus killed 21 people.

The assault bore a chilling resemblance to the December 2014 Peshawar school assault in which more than 150 people, mostly children, were killed, prompting the government to launch a National Action Plan (NAP) cracking down on extremism.

Sharif said on Sunday Pakistan would continue the fight against militants.

"We will fulfil this responsibility," he told reporters in London.

"In certain areas of NAP the progress is slow, but in many other areas work has been started," Sharif added.

The NAP saw the creation of military courts and the resumption of executions after a six-year moratorium, and the initiatives were credited with making 2015 the least deadly in terms of militant attacks since the formation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani (TTP) in 2007.

The Pakistan military also intensified an ongoing campaign against extremism following the 2014 assault.

Sharif said that Pakistan and Afghanistan had an agreement that both countries would not allow militants to use their territory to launch attacks on their neighbour.

However, Pakistan officials said the university attack was orchestrated from Afghanistan and that they have arrested five Pakistani facilitators.

"Pakistan and Afghanistan are strictly following this agreement, but there are certain elements in Afghanistan who on their own are attacking Pakistan," Sharif said.

"In 2014 our school was attacked from Afghanistan. Such attacks should be stopped," Sharif said.

Twenty-one people were killed last Wednesday in an attack at a university campus in Pakistan's tribal northwest which was claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, barely a year after the massacre at a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people.

Earlier this month Sharif assured US Secretary of State John Kerry that Pakistan was investigating the deadly attack on an Indian air force base.

Indian officials suspect the January 2 attack on the Pathankot base, which left seven soldiers dead, was carried out by the banned Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

US President Barack Obama, in an interview with the Press Trust of India published on Sunday, also urged Pakistan to show it is "serious" about crushing extremist networks operating on its territory, saying the latest mass killing of students underlined the need for more decisive action.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
10% - 17 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
22% - 36 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
67% - 110 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.19
(+0.13)
ZAR/GBP
20.29
(+0.12)
ZAR/EUR
18.10
(+0.07)
ZAR/AUD
11.20
(-0.08)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.05)
Gold
1808.84
(-0.02)
Silver
23.24
(+0.28)
Platinum
958.00
(+0.03)
Brent Crude
47.75
(-1.52)
Palladium
2398.50
(+1.31)
All Share
57942.85
(+0.03)
Top 40
53125.84
(+0.08)
Financial 15
11820.57
(+1.51)
Industrial 25
80081.21
(+0.11)
Resource 10
52414.21
(-0.71)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo