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August 16, 2016

Nacta wants civilian agencies under its control


August 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta) wants civilian organizations including intelligence agencies, provincial police and counterterrorism departments (CTDs) of the provinces under its control, a call that is serving as a roadblock in the way of making this body fully functional.

 “The pattern on which the Nacta is being shaped or wishes to be structured and the manpower and functions it wants to have in addition to the control over civilian organizations, engaged in fighting against terrorism, makes it abundantly clear that it will become a subsidiary of a premier non-civilian intelligence agency,” a senior official, who opposes such arrangement, told The News.

In his view, such Nacta is not needed because it will undermine the civilian organizations, which are doing a good job against terrorists and have many achievements to take pride, as it will seriously vitiate their functioning.

The official pointed out that the civilian spy agency, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), is working closely with provincial police and CTDs. This collaboration has hugely contributed in the war against terrorists, he asserted. Recommendation number five of the 20-point counterterrorism National Action Plan (NAP) says that the Nacta will be strengthened.

The official said that this strengthening doesn’t mean that the Nacta will be reinforced at the cost of the existing civilian organizations, which are working hard against terrorism.

A source privy to the high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, among others, said that the deliberations dealt with the items of the counterterrorism agenda that remained unfinished in the two previous similar sessions last week.

He quoted the prime minister as directing all concerned that progress should be made on all the twenty points of the NAP in a renewed and reinvigorated manner.

The premier also said that in this connection no lethargy would be acceptable. He said he would expect frequent reports from the newly constituted implementation committee of the NAP to be headed by National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua.

According to the source, Nawaz Sharif further said that he was ready to receive briefings from the committee on daily, weekly and fortnightly basis so that there is acceleration in the implementation.

The source hoped that the effectiveness of the implementation committee would be productive. He said that the provincial chief ministers have also been fully involved in this task.

While certain points of the NAP have been fully implemented, progress on some others is going on as it is a continuing process. Ban on glorification of terrorists and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media has been effectively ensured as there are no such complaints anymore.

The implementation of death sentence of those convicted in cases of terrorism has been done. Special trial courts under the army supervision have been established and will exist till January next year as they were created for two years to start with. These military tribunals are fully functional and have imposed death penalty on a number of terrorists.

Point number four of the NAP was that militant outfits and armed gangs will not be allowed to operate in Pakistan. This has been largely checked but more action is in store in this connection.

Strict action that was recommended against the literature, newspapers and magazines promoting hatred, decapitation, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance, has been ensured. Point seven of NAP was that all funding sources of terrorists and terrorist outfits will be frozen. This has also been done. Another point was that the defunct outfits will not be allowed to operate under any other name.

Point nine proposed establishment and deployment of a dedicated counter-terrorism force. This has been created in provinces in the shape of CTDs. With the parliamentary approval of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, concrete measures against promotion of terrorism through internet and social media have been taken. Monday’s high profile meeting decided that an implementation mechanism to deal with cybercrime laws shall be put in place at the earliest.

Formulation of a comprehensive policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees, beginning with registration of all of them, has been done. Point sixteen of the NAP said that ongoing operation in Karachi will be taken to its logical end. It is in progress with full swing.  However, reforms in criminal courts system to strengthen the anti-terrorism institutions including provincial CIDs are yet to be done. Similarly, administrative and development reforms in the tribal areas with immediate focus on repatriation of IDPs (internally displaced people) are also still to be introduced.

The Balochistan government was to be fully empowered for political reconciliation with complete ownership by all stakeholders. This has been done although the results of such efforts are yet to emerge.

Progress on other points of the NAP is a continuing process. These include: end to religious extremism and protection of minorities will be ensured; communication network of terrorists will be dismantled completely; no room will be left for the extremism in any part of Pakistan; action against elements spreading sectarianism; and registration and regulation of religious seminaries.


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