Fighting terror: NAP implementation slips off govt radar

Published: September 11, 2017
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Once touted as the cure-all for eliminating terrorism, the National Action Plan (NAP) has been assigned a much lower priority by the government because of diverse factors.

Since the beginning of this year, progress on the NAP was too slow because of the Panama Papers issue. After the change of leadership in the country after the Supreme Court’s verdict, implementation on the action plan further slowed down, defence analysts agreed.

A number of defence analysts told The Express Tribune on Sunday that they did not expect implementation on NAP anytime soon under the present circumstances. They also expressed pessimism regarding progress in this regard in the near future.

NAP was devised in January of 2015 for mounting an intensive crackdown on terrorism in addition to supplementing the ongoing anti-terrorist offensive in tribal areas in northwestern parts of the country.

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It was planned as a major coordinated state-owned retaliation after the Peshawar school attack on December 16, 2014.

It contained 20 points some of which were to be initiated by the federal and others by provincial governments while the remaining were to be taken by the security establishment.

Brig (retd) Saeed Nazeer Mohmand said that progress on NAP implementation had slowed down because of a change in government priorities.

He said that the government now had the status of an interim set-up. “It cannot make major policy changes because it will not have enough time for implementation,” he said.

Militancy, terrorism and universities

He said that various institutions appeared not to be focussing on implementing NAP, adding that the opposition’s priorities had also changed.

Brig (retd) Mohmand said that in the wake of the new regional policy announced by US President Donald Trump had also played a key role in changing national priorities, adding that other issues also needed to be tackled.

According to him, external threats were more menacing now for the security institutions after the emergence of new regional alliances, BRICS declaration and the new US policy.

Stressing the need for urgent action on NAP, he said that FATA reforms needed to be implemented quickly and NACTA should be made effective.

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“There is also an urgent need to reform the judicial system and matters relating to Afghan refugees need to be tackled quickly.”

“A Joint Intelligence Directorate (JID) was supposed to be made operational under NACTA but this still remains to be done. JID was supposed to act as the nerve centre for collating information of various government agencies. NACTA still remains ineffective,” he said.

He said that laws were enacted for effectively controlling hate speech and cyber-crimes.

After the emergence of the Panama Papers issue, implementation of NAP was relegated to cold storage, he said.

Military options alone not sufficient to counter extremism

Highlighting the importance of balancing external and internal factors, he said it matters a lot now.

“Pakistan needs to address its issues with neighbouring countries, otherwise Pakistan alone cannot cope with new threats.”

Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed said that implementation on NAP was now “a dead horse”.

NAP, he said, was only pursued and monitored effectively until the tenure of General (retd) Raheel Sharif.

But, he said, the issue of Panama Papers gradually took precedence on the government’s priority list.

He said the current PM was basically elected for the 45-day interim period. “The situation may change in parliament if Kulsoom Nawaz is elected as an MNA on the 17th of this month.  So, there will be little progress in connection with NAP implementation in the coming days.”

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“There will also be no discussion on NAP in the near future as the country will be in election mode next year. It will again be prioritised if, God forbid, a major incident of terrorism occurs in the country,” he said.

According to Brig (retd) Hameed there was an urgent need to implement NAP. “Groups like Ansarul Sharia may not have emerged if NAP was effectively implemented.”

He said that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had done a “good job in some areas”, but in his absence, NAP had lost steam even on the media.

He said that the situation was far better in the country because of the on-going Operation Radul Fasad.

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