The government has constituted a federal counter- terrorism force with immediate effect, said an official sources after a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where the National Action Plan on counter-terrorism was discussed.

The force would work under the Ministry of Defence and would be deployed across the country. It would be responsible solely for countering terrorism, the sources said.

The force would also keep contact with civilian, military intelligence security agencies and its counter-terrorism wings, the sources were quoted as saying.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had earlier this week announced the formation of a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force to fight terrorists.

At Friday's meeting, it was also announced that the Prime Minister will head the panel for the implementation of the counter-terrorism action plan agreed to on Wednesday at a meeting of the mainstream political parties.

The panel includes Interior Minister Nisar, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

"The finance ministry and the State Bank must monitor funding to terrorists and militant organisations in the country. We will have to stop their funding," Sharif told the meeting.

The State Bank of Pakistan has been directed to supervise anti-terror financing in Pakistan and freeze all accounts which were being used for funding terrorists, cited reports.

"I will personally supervise the implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism, and will make sure that it is swift and effective," Sharif said.

The National Action Plan has been formed to deal with the menace of terrorism in the wake of Taliban's attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in which 150 people, mostly children, were killed.

As part of the anti-terrorism crackdown, hundreds of terror suspects were arrested today while 10 unregistered religious seminaries were sealed with the government stepping up its offensive against militants.

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