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February 10, 2018

‘Nacta Sindh office will be functional in two weeks’


February 10, 2018

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) will make its Sindh office functional in the next two weeks with the aim to connect all law-enforcement agencies operating in the province with the federal government, said Ihsan Ghani, the national coordinator of the country’s top anti-terrorism body.

Talking to The News on Friday, Ghani, who is visiting Karachi, said that a Grade-19 officer will head the Sindh office of Nacta in the city, which will serve as a coordination point to bring LEAs together. “Because of the seamless coordination among law-enforcement bodies, successful crackdown on violent terror groups across the country, including Sindh, has been effective in reducing terrorism,” he said.

Bringing seminaries on the books

Discussing the much-awaited registration of religious seminaries, one of the twenty points of the National Action Plan drawn up in the wake of the Peshawar Army Public School tragedy, Ghani said that Nacta has helped in approving two forms – madrassa registration and data forms – after consultation with leaders of the Ittehad Tanzeemat Madaris Pakistan, an umbrella body of five boards representing seminaries of various sects.

He added that now the provincial governments have to start registration process of madrassas. “Currently, most of the madrassas have been registered with the Ministry of Industries and we have advised provincial governments to register them with either the ministry of education or religious affairs, which are the most relevant ones,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Ghani visited Jamia Binoria, a prominent religious seminary in SITE and spoke to a gathering of its faculty and students.

“Visiting seminaries and meeting their teachers and students have also been helpful to understand the madrassa issue and formulating policies regarding their reforms,” the Nacta chief said. He added that he will visit other seminaries of all sects and sub-sects in various parts of the country. Nacta has been working on several programmes to promote dialogue between students of seminaries and liberal universities, Ghani said.

Terror financing

According to Ghani, National Task Force for Chocking Finances of Terrorism, a coordinating body of more than 20 federal and provincial government bodies, has effectively been working to combat financing of terrorism in many ways.

“Apart from creating units for countering financing of terrorism in provincial counter-terrorism departments, a module on terror financing has been included in syllabus of police training schools,” he said. “It will help police personnel in investigating financing in any terrorism act.”

He also said that a model bill for facilitating and regulating charities has been formulated after working for a year with provincial governments and the provinces will soon pass it in their respective assemblies.

“The bill will not only help genuine charities, such as Edhi Foundation and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, to increase their fundraising, but also involve the government’s relevant bodies, such as Baitul Mal and Social Welfare Department, to collect donations,” Ghani said.

The Sindh government has already started working on the bill titled ‘The Charitable Funds (Regulations of Collection) Act, 2018’, aimed at preventing proscribed terror groups from collecting donations and stopping misuse of charity funds for terrorism in the province.

Tackling hate speech

Moreover, as part of Nacta’s ongoing campaign to counter online extremism and misuse of internet and social media, the counter-terrorism body will also be launching an app, called ‘Chaukas’ (alert) to report hate speech, Ghani said.

Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal will officially launch the app in upcoming weeks at an event in Islamabad, he added.

According to Nacta’s website, the Chaukas app will enable citizens to anonymously and securely report extremist content, speeches, banners and activities wherever they notice it in their areas and also on the internet.

The data and information received will be shared with police, Federal Investigation Agency and other law-enforcement and regulatory authorities in Pakistan.