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National

January 10, 2015

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Not military but police-agencies cooperation needed to fix terrorists

ISLAMABAD: The government is busy in quick fixes of terrorism by exploring military solution to a police problem without paying any attention to global research indicating that majority of terrorist networks were dismantled through the collaborative efforts of police and intelligence.
Although marathon sessions were held for building consensus on military courts, no brainstorming was done for the depoliticising and capacity-building of police in order to make it a viable force for terrorism that, according to Gen. (R) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, had to be fought 60 percent in settled areas and 40 percent in tribal area.
The political leadership rather prefers to continue treating the police as servants and subsequently receives a similar treatment from other institutions powerful enough to be made pliant.
A study by Washington-based think tank, Rand Corporation, of 648 terrorist groups existing between 1968 and 2006 found that the military might resulted in the elimination of terrorist groups only in seven cases whereas 40 percent groups were crushed through police and intelligence and 43 percent denounced militancy by transitioning into political process.
“Military force has rarely been the primary reason for the end of terrorist groups,” according to this study released in 2008. While it acknowledges the utility of blunt military force especially when the groups are larger in size and well-organised, it has also emphasised on a range of policy instruments including careful policing and intelligence networks.
“The police and intelligence services have better training and information to penetrate and disrupt terrorist organizations than do such institutions as the military,” according to this study. Local police and intelligence agencies usually have a permanent presence in cities, towns, and villages, a better understanding of the threat environment in these areas; and better human intelligence, it explains.
Examples from the US, the UK

and Turkey should suffice to determine the role played by internal security apparatus. The FBI and local police were instrumental in dealing with domestic terrorism as the operations were conducted through their joint task forces. London’s Metropolitan police successfully dealt with this threat after 7/7 bombing. Turkey’s counter terrorism department is answerable to the head of Turkish national police.
The police in Pakistan have also played a laudable role in counter-terrorism, constraints of financial and technological resources notwithstanding. Terrorists involved in attacks at FIA office, Qadianis worship places, Naval War College were arrested by the Punjab police. Major breakthrough in Sri Lanka team attack and assassination attempt on Musharraf in 2004 was also made possible through the police-led counter terrorism department. Even information about attack on GHQ in 2009 was passed on by police six months before its happening.
The police have produced these remarkable results in absence of sufficient resources. They are being denied permission to purchase modern gadgetries like mobile recording and tracking facilities.
A police officer, who cleared no-go areas in Rahim Yar Khan, once said he was facing trouble to locate the miscreants due to the unavailability of tracking devices, nevertheless, he successfully performed.
Imran Khan recently touched on this point demanding the federal government to allow the KP police to procure these gadgets. The KP police, the only depoliticized force of any province, have taken numerous measures to cleanse the area of terrorists but feel helpless when tracking and recording facilities are required.
An official in the Punjab Police said they had long struggled in vain and now locally manufacture such equipment but they are not as advanced as the equipment imported by the premier intelligence agency.
While the government has passed an amendment to the Constitution and the Army Act 1952 for speedy trials of terrorists through the military courts, it didn’t deem appropriate to amend the law of evidence that could shift the burden of proof to the accused as is in the narcotics and corruption cases dealt by the ANF and the NAB. No step has been taken to improve the coordination among the police, prosecution and agencies.
No thought was spared to replicate the system of faceless investigating officers, prosecutors and judges as has been done in a country dealing with drug mafia and terrorists. Likewise, no attention has been paid to the training of judges and prosecutors for handling terrorism cases.

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