ISLAMABAD: The government allocated Rs109.42 million in Budget 2016-17 to combat the menace of terrorism in the country. This has been done to strengthen and reinvigorate the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). The move is indicative that the long-awaited Nacta proposal of launching the Joint Intelligence Directorate (JID) may now come to fruition.
Meanwhile, the military has also supported the establishment of the JID and nominated a serving brigadier and almost 50 officers for the organisation, sources said on Sunday.“The military has nominated a brigadier and almost 50 officers, each not less than Grade 18, for the organisation. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and provincial police intelligence outfits, Special branches, have already given nominations for the office of Nacta,” a key official requesting anonymity said.
The list of military officers nominated for Nacta’s JID would also include officers from the Military Intelligence (MI), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) besides some other intelligence and operational units of the military, the source added.
Ihsan Ghani, the incumbent National Coordinator (chief) of Nacta, a Grade-22 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), has already been notified as the head ofgrade-22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), has already been notified as the head of the JID. Many consider the nomination of military officers in JID is an accomplishment of Ihsan Ghani.
“Ihsan is indeed a very competent and wonderful officer,” said Tariq Pervez, the founder official of Nacta, living a retired life. Tariq Pervez not only envisioned this organisation but also played a key role in turning the dream of this organisation into reality.
The primary reason for establishing JID within Nacta is to collect, collate, analyse, and share intelligence from all possible avenues and develop a threat matrix based upon such high grade intelligence by both civilian and military institutions working in tandem. Threat analysis is yet another very complicated and sensitive issue in this business.
“During my time, British had offered six-month training for threat analysis. I think all the officers from civilian and military agencies must be given an equal opportunity to attend the course, so that adopting a same methodology, a clear picture, based on civil-military intelligence, could come forward,” added Tariq Pervez who is also known as an expert on counter-terrorism and sectarianism in Pakistan and elsewhere.
However, the percentage of JID funds in the total allocated sum to Nacta is still not clear. A decision on establishing JID in a separate building has been taken. It has come to the knowledge of this reporter that the country’s premier intelligence agency – ISI-- has nodded to provide a building to Nacta on rent, where the JID officers would sit.
Our sources also claim that a multi-storey building located in Aabpara, Islamabad, is in the process of being renovated by the above mentioned intelligence outfit, and the initial contract to lend the building is 5 years. The sources revealed that the JID would start functioning in next a few months.
Since the introduction of the JID idea in National Internal Security Policy (NISP) the said unit of Nacta is considered as the backbone and its long overdue establishment would be considered as the renaissance of Nacta. Nacta National Coordinator Ihsan Ghani said that he had full support of Minister for Interior Ch Nisar Ali Khan. However, some experts also point fingers on the legal side of this development.
“We need to look at the legal framework of these changes as well, and whether this will impact on the performance of the counterterrorism body, as primarily it was responsible for the coordination among different intelligence agencies and to provide the policy guidelines to the government of Pakistan,” said Amir Rana, an author of several books on counterterrorism and head of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), while raising some key questions.
Despite these interesting and promising developments, it seems that Ihsan Ghani would have to walk on a tight rope keeping in view of number of stakeholders involved in decision making. Mr Ghani being an ex-Navy officer and ex-chief security officer (CSO) of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in her last tenure (as police officer) has experience of both dealing the military and the civilians.
Being a Navy officer he had landed in police service in 1987-88 and since then he has been in police service thus he knows the art of dealing with the police as well. Experts dealing the issues related to counterterrorism hope that with the diverse background of Navy, police and working with politicians Mr Ihsan would make Nacta a completely productive civilian counter-terror institution resolving the years’ long controversy of lack of civilian national security narrative.
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