Taking to task: Counter-terrorism authority bill sails through lower house

NACTA aims at integrating anti-terrorism and counter-extremism efforts.


Our Correspondent March 09, 2013
The authority will play a pivotal role in coordinating with all law enforcement agencies in taking actions. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


A bill for establishment of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) 2013 sailed through the National Assembly on Friday with all key amendments incorporated into it.


The authority, to be headed by the prime minister, aims at integrating Pakistan’s anti-terrorism and counter-extremism efforts.

Minister for Law Farooq H Naek moved the bill in the lower house of Parliament, which was approved by members clause by clause after incorporating almost all amendments suggested by Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) member Shireen Arshad and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Shabir Tariq.

“Establishing the authority was necessary in view of the nature and magnitude of terrorist threats. It would present strategic policy options to the government to be considered and implemented by stakeholders,” the bill stated. The authority would be responsible to scientifically study the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism in historic and professional perspective, it added.

The authority will play a pivotal role in coordinating with all law enforcement agencies in taking actions against those who carry out acts of terrorism and extremism besides preparing comprehensive national counter terrorism and extremism strategies, the bill read.

An amendment, moved by MNA Shabir Tariq, and later approved by the house, suggested the central control of federal interior ministry be abolished as enshrined in the original draft of standing committee’s report.

Another amendment adopted by the house made Nacta an independent body answerable directly to the prime minister.

“The authority will receive and collate data, information or intelligence and disseminate and coordinate between all relevant stakeholders,” the bill said.

Besides the prime minister, the board will comprise ministers of interior, finance, defence, chief ministers of all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) as well as prime minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), along with directors general of Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau , Military Intelligence and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2013.

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