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June 18, 2014

Nacta remains dormant as terrorism flourishes

Peshawar

June 18, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) Act was passed in March 2013 but not even a single meeting of the authority’s high-powered board of governors, headed by the prime minister and comprising all the key government players including spymasters, has been held as yet.
With terrorism haunting the country, Nacta direly needs a push from its board of governors to take major counter-terrorism policy decisions besides ensuring close coordination of agencies and improving the capacity of law enforcing agencies to check the terror attacks.
The implementation of the recently-approved National Internal Security Policy (NISP), which envisages multi-dimensional measures to effectively address the incapacity of the state to counter terrorism, is also dependent on the authority’s decisions and approvals.
Even otherwise, legally speaking, the Nacta board of governors is bound under the law to meet at least once in each quarter of a year — four times a year. Ironically, despite this legal position, the Nacta BoG never met before or during the present PML-N regime, which has completed one year.
According to sources, the very constitution of the authority’s board of governors is such that its meeting itself would mean a lot. The Nacta’s board of governors includes the prime minister as its chairman while its members are all the provincial chief ministers, the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, prime minister of the AJK, interior minister, law minister, defence minister, finance minister, DG ISI, DG Intelligence Bureau, DG Military Intelligence, DG FIA, chief secretaries and inspector generals of all the provinces, secretary interior and others.
The board has a key role in implementing the NISP which promises capacity building of criminal justice system, police, civil armed forces and other law enforcing agencies for border management besides setting up of a key institution to be called the Directorate of Internal Security (DIS), which

would be established under the Nacta to coordinate intelligence and operational work of all the civilian and military agencies to effectively counter terrorism.
“Thirty-three civil and military operational and intelligence agencies will contribute centralised intelligence sharing and dissemination to the NISA,” the NISP said, adding that all the intelligence agencies would be bound to provide any intelligence solicited by the Nacta.
One of the tasks of the DIS would be to provide early warnings to law enforcing agencies and other specific recipients with regard to violent/terrorist groups and organisations. The DIS will be led by a DG while its officers and personnel would come from the ISI, IB, MI, interior ministry, FIA, civilian armed forces and provincial police.
The DIS would also have specialised wings like intelligence and analysis centre, national internal security operational centre, operation planning centre, centre intelligence team, air wing and rapid response force for different operational and analytical functions of Nacta.
It would have special groups focusing on all anti-state groups, non-state armed groups, armed wings of political parties, sectarian terrorism and proscribed organisations, criminal gangs and organised crime mafia. The DIS’s wings would also cover cyber crimes, border control and immigration, financial trails and money laundering, organised crimes and Interpol coordination and international cooperation.
Commenting on the capacity of security organisations, the NISP said: “There are 33 organisations in Pakistan at provincial and federal levels dealing with internal security. Total strength of these agencies exceeds 600,000 and it is more than the standing army of Pakistan. However, approximately 56,000 vacancies still lay vacant in police and civilian armed forces. Pakistan is spending approximately Rs155 billion on policing every year and this is seventy six percent increase since 2009. Extra expenditures have also incurred on maintaining CAFs and other LEAs deputed for national internal security purposes.
“Law enforcement capacity of the state has been put to test to counter militancy at times; however, it has not always managed to succeed against the terrorists,” the NISP admitted.