National Action Plan against Terrorism Revisited
Still, some political entities are creating controversy about the National Action Plan (NAP) which is essential part of Pakistan’s war against terrorism, as it has co-relationship with the military operation Zarb-i-Azb which has broken the backbone of the militants.
In this respect, while heading a meeting of high level apex committee, (Of civil-military high officials) on September 10, this year regarding overall progress on implementation of NAP against terrorism, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that provincial governments were following its several provisions accordingly, however, attention should be paid to other points as well.
Just like the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and chief minister of the Sindh province, Syed Qaim complained that the federal investigation agencies and the Rangers were interfering in the matters of provincial government.
The leaders of these entities forgot that on January 2, 2015, besides the chiefs of other political parties and military top officials agreed on a draft of legislative measures which paved the way for establishment of special military trial courts. It was unanimously agreed that the 20 points (National Action Plan) enunciated in the All Parties Conference (APC) Resolution of December 24, 2014 is being acted upon—the bill as 22nd (Constitutional) Amendment was enforced soon after its approval from the parliament. Now, special military courts have been established and the ruthless terrorists facing death penalty are being hanged.
These political elements are again reminded that the National Action Plan includes important points—execution of convicted terrorists, establishment of special trial courts, ensuring no armed militias are allowed to function in the country, strengthening and activation of National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), countering hate speech and extremist material, choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organizations, ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organizations, establishing and deploying a dedicated counter-terrorism force, taking effective steps against religious persecution, registration and regulation of Madrissas (Religious seminaries), ban on glorification of terrorism and terrorists organization through print and electronic media, FATA reforms, dismantling communication networks of terrorist organizations, measures against abuse of internet and social media for terrorism, Zero tolerance for militancy in Punjab, taking the ongoing operation in Karachi to its logical conclusion, Balochistan reconciliation, dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists, policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees, revamping and reforming the criminal justice system.
These hostile entities should know that corruption is the essence of terrorism. Hence, people want that this menace must be eliminated from the country as part of overall war against terrorism. In this context, on June 10, 2015, while showing the progress of the Zarb-e-Azb, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif said, “Terrorists have been cleared from their strongholds in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency and fight now is moving into last few pockets close to Afghan border.” He laid emphasis on “continuation of the operations till elimination of the last expected and probable terrorists groups and sanctuaries.” While addressing a ceremony of the golden jubilee celebrations the 1965 war regarding Pakistan’s victory and defeat of India, Gen. Raheel again stated on September 6, this year that the operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched at a time when terrorist networks had solidified in the country, and the Armed Forces had been fighting an untraditional war for the past many years, elaborating, “our success is the result of our martyrs and ghazis—in Karachi and Balochistan, peace has returned, where militants have been surrendering their arms.” He reiterated his resolve to eliminate “abettors, financiers, sympathizers, and facilitators” of terrorists at all costs.
Notably, since June 15, 2014, the jets of Pakistan Air Force have bombed militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan, and killed thousands of insurgents including foreign militants, while Pak Army has also killed several terrorists through ground offensive and many of them surrendered before the Army. While, the primary intelligence agency ISI and other law-enforcing agencies captured several terrorists in various regions of Pakistan, including suicide-jackets and weapons—thus thwarted their subversive acts. They have successfully broken the network of the terrorists.
However, in order to dismantle the terror-financing networks, elimination of corruption is an important part of Pakistan’s National Action Plan, devised to counter extremism in the country following the Peshawar school massacre of children. Similarly, reforming the religious seminaries is also its key part.
In this connection, without any discrimination, several persons involved in corruption have been arrested in Karachi and other parts of the country, while similar action is likely to be taken in Punjab and other provinces of the country, which has almost stared.
A regards religious seminaries, recent meeting of military, political and religious seminaries have vital importance. All the participants reached a mutual consensus. While assuring unconditional support to National Action Plan, representatives of Madrassas, Ulema (Religious scholars) said that culprits and black sheep in religious institutes should be dealt with iron hands. They agreed that “Pakistan is our motherland. We on our own have to protect its integrity.” They also agreed for reforms in the religious schools through introduction of new curriculum, registration, and funding process. Earlier, the chief ministers agreed to all the proposals put forth by the interior minister regarding important issues including regularization of affairs of NGOs.
Meanwhile, according to online sources, the Police have checked documents of 2,994 students of 11 Madarasas in Karachi and their administration has been ordered to ban entry of any student who is without documents, and arrested several proclaimed offenders and court absconders from different areas of the city, during a search operation of various hotels, inns, guest houses, bus terminals and railway station. During a crackdown against drug peddlers, Police also arrested drug pushers, recovering charas and hashish including illegal weapons, and rounds of ammunition. Similar action was also taken in Islamabad and some other parts of the country.
It is notable that unfortunately, it is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. In the past few years, nefarious designs of some foreign secret agencies like Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad can be gauged from a number of anti-Pakistan developments such as their support to insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, separatism in Balochistan and targeted killings especially in Karachi coupled with subversive acts all over the country. Pakistan which has become special arena of this different war faced terror-activities such as suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, ruthless beheadings of the innocent people, assaults on security personnel and prominent religious figures. Besides blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, the terrorists, particularly of the Indian-backed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also targeted mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleums, temples, churches and disgraced dead bodies.
At this critical moment, the implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism demands true national unity, which must be shown practically. Our political leaders must pledge that they will not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as to grab political power. For this aim, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the country, our political leaders, media, religious scholars and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any crisis against Pak Army and ISI. Instead, they must show solidarity with Pakistan’s Armed forces including law-enforcing agencies which are coping with the menace of terrorism.
Although, Pak Army has ever conducted a large-scale reconstruction and rehabilitation programme in FATA, yet it is not easy to resettle 2 million people. War against terrorism will remain incomplete, unless all segments of society and politicians try to win the hearts and minds of the tribal people by providing financial resources for their rehabilitation. The vision of a peaceful, prosperous and developed FATA is necessary to foil future plans of the terrorists.
Moreover, selfless national unity against terrorists and the foreign enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other political parties including Ulema must create national cohesion among various institutes of the country.
Particularly, the religious scholars and seminaries should play their role in discouraging sectarianism and terrorism and a campaign to eliminate such tendencies should be launched by developing a counter narrative.
Pakistan is in the state of new warfare, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists. Hence, all segments of nation must be on one page, which is necessary to implement the National Action Plan which itself is essential to win this war against terrorism.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations