Billions for counter-terrorism, nothing for Nacta

Published: June 7, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Despite having allocated tens of billions of rupees to fight the war against terrorism, the federal government hasn’t been able to find any room in its budget for the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta).

With absolutely no mention of Nacta in the budget documents, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on Saturday at the sidelines of his post-budget press conference, that Nacta’s budget is part of the interior ministry’s allocations. However, that claim was quickly denied by a senior interior ministry official, who told The Express Tribune that the matter has in fact not been resolved yet and that he would be meeting key government officials next week for a solution.

“We are optimistic that the [finance ministry] would accept all our demands and release the much-awaited tranche to strengthen the anti-terror body, which has not been made vibrant since its inception in 2009,” said the official, who wished to remain anonymous.

The senior security official said that Nacta had been seeking funding through the interior ministry for fiscal 2015. While the interior ministry has administrative control of Nacta, the agency reports directly to the prime minister in its functional affairs.

The strengthening of Nacta is at point number four of the unanimously adopted 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism was announced following the attack on Army Public School (APS) in December 2014.

The ministry had requested Rs960 million from the finance ministry for the activation of the counter-terrorism body, a senior official said. “The government had sent back this [request] to the ministry raising some objections and we had answered to all these objections,” he added.

Before this, Nacta had sent a request for Rs46 million to the finance ministry. Nacta is working with a tiny staff and most of the positions at the authority are vacant.

However, funding is not the only concern facing Nacta. In his testimony before parliament a few days ago, Interior Secretary Shahid Khan said that a ‘dearth of funds’ was not the only hurdle that stands in the way of the anti-terror body.

Without delving into details, he said that progress in some areas outlined in the NAP had been dismal. But he pointed out that NAP is a set of recommendations and not a legislative draft. He said the interior ministry would brief lawmakers on the procedural hurdles that have reduced Nacta to a mere ‘paper tiger’.

Yet despite the rhetoric, the government has also failed to establish a joint intelligence directorate. The proposed directorate, which had to function under Nacta, was being set up for coordination and intelligence-sharing among 26 spy agencies to curb terrorism in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 7, 2015 - 2:06PM

    So far for APC on war against terror met post APS, yes ! NAP is just a recommendation under NACTA, but while NACTA has been pushed back NAP brought forward. This is not the way to work. Either the govt should abolish NACTA or make it functional if successful implementation of NAP is needed. NAP will never be successfully implemented if there in no independent body to oversee it through coordinated effort amongst all intel units. This is how ” Homeland Security” works in USA. This is how they have been able to pre-empt many security lapses & intended law & order situations across USA.Recommend

  • raw is war
    Jun 7, 2015 - 2:25PM

    How do you fight “terrorism” which in first place was created by YOURSELF?Recommend

  • Josh
    Jun 7, 2015 - 6:19PM

    Billions to build metro bus service and squabbling over funds in millions to fight terrorism – not that NACTA will be pnacea for the ills of Pakistan but still goes to shoe the priorities. Ishaq $ will not running his personal business like he is doing with the State coffers – borrow/borrow and borrow more money!Recommend

  • M Saleem Chaudhry
    Jun 8, 2015 - 8:20AM

    What kind tomfooleries are going on in the corridors of power? A body formed to address the most vital issue, Nacta which was report directly to P.M is still almost nonoperative even after six year and Interior Secretary calls it paper tiger. Shouldn’t from Dar&co to P.M everyone taken to task? Our judiciary failing to start suomoto and parliament,devouring billions every year, yet sleeping over it.Recommend

  • Zaki
    Jul 23, 2015 - 8:23AM

    The “PRIME” minister of Pakistan has the nerve to spend 55 billion on effing metro service and dont wanna give nothing but Rs100m? Nawaz, you should be ashamed of yourself.Recommend

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