In a surprising move, the interior ministry on Saturday contradicted the Supreme Court’s observations in a case in which it lambasted the government for its failure to enforce the National Action Plan (NAP).
According to media reports, the apex court on Friday termed the national counter terrorism as a “plan of inaction”. The court’s senior judge, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, had remarked that not ‘a single bit’ of work was done on the plan, despite the passage of six months. He also accused the government of deceiving the masses in the name of the NAP.
In its clarification, the ministry expressed its displeasure over the court’s observations and said it was ‘unfair’ to declare that nothing was done on the NAP’s implementation. “The order of the honourable apex court is acceptable but this impression is not right that ‘not a single bit’ of work was done,” the ministry said.
It said that even international think tanks had appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to combat the twin menaces of terrorism and militancy. However, it made it clear that not a single department or ministry is entirely responsible for implementation of the National Action Plan, adding that it would submit a detailed progress report before the apex court on the next hearing.
Read: Not one dept's job: Interior ministry defends NAP's implementation
Presenting details of the efforts made to curb terrorism, the ministry said 20,000 terrorists were eliminated or injured, while 2,500 were arrested during the military operation codenamed Zarb-e-Azb. “Some 400 were arrested for making improvised explosive devices, bombs and 100 such networks were completely destroyed,” it said. The ministry claimed that 8,111 workers of the proscribed organisations were put on the fourth schedule, while cases were registered against 1,026 people belonging to these outfits.
“For suspicious transactions, over two billion rupees have been scrutinised by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and State Bank of Pakistan. So far, 27 meetings of apex committees have been held,” it said.
In the wake of the Karachi operation, the ministry claimed that the law and order situation has vastly improved. There are fewer incidents of targeted killings which have gone down to 44 per cent, murders decreased to 37 per cent, terrorism decreased to 46 per cent, cases of theft decreased to 23 per cent while 55,962 criminals, as well as 688 terrorists, were rounded up.
The clarification said 54,376 combing operations have been conducted so far in which 60,420 suspects were arrested. “Similarly, 3,019 intelligence based operations have been conducted with the help of 1,388 intelligence sharing. For selling hate literature, 71 shops have been sealed, 1,512 books have been confiscated and 1,776 cases have been registered,” it said.
The ministry claimed that 1,799 suspects were arrested over hate literature. It said the government got 97.9 million SIMs verified while blocking 5.1 million unverified SIM cards. “This process was in limbo for seven years but the government completed it in just three months,” it claimed.
Read: CM wants implementation of National Action Plan
However, the ministry admitted that there were internal and external pressures on the registration and regulation process of madari, repatriation of Afghan refugees, Fata reforms and full blockage of financial supply lines of terrorists.
Apparently responding to the apex court’s earlier remarks, the ministry said it had nothing to do with INGOs issue and Economic Affairs Division was responsible for registration of the INGOs.
Last week, an apex court bench, headed by Justice Khawaja, had come down hard on the federal and provincial governments for failing to take adequate steps to regulate the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations.
“Recently, the task of registration of INGOs has been assigned to the interior ministry,” the statement said. “The affairs of INGOs will be regulated within six months,” it said.
The clarification was issued before getting a written order of the apex court, a top legal wizard of the government confirmed.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.