News & Views
INTERIOR Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan has the reputation of being upright and honest, but he should not have given knee-jerk reaction to Quetta Commission Report by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Ch Nisar said that he would challenge the report in the Supreme Court in a bid to defend his honour and dignity as the report has been made without the ministry’s narrative. Instead of holding press conference, he should have gone to the Supreme Court and taken the plea that he was not heard. However, in his press conference he had admitted having received letters from the commission to which he answered. He should bear in mind that if he defends those leaders whose names are in Panama Leaks; and if the govt fails in implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) or National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), he will be criticized.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, he said that he read Quetta Commission’s report in newspapers, adding that he was surprised how it was released without listening to his point of view. He dismissed criticism on National Action Plan, recounted his achievements and said he would present the Interior Ministry’s stance on the report before the Supreme Court and Parliament. The report said: “The ministry’s National Security Internal Policy is not being implemented. The officers of the ministry appear more interested in serving the minister than the people of Pakistan.” Unfortunately, a full-scaled activation of NACTA remains in limbo even after seven years of its creation and after three years of enactment. Last year some staff was inducted and rules were framed in November 2015. According to a news report, only one meeting of NACTA executive committee had been held during the last three and half years.
Though there is progress in implementation of National Action Plan, the administration has yet to implement many reforms suggested in the NAP. It is too well known that ill-gotten money provides oxygen to the terrorist networks and other mafias working against the interest of the state, yet it appears that the civilian leaders lack political will to block the supply of illicit money to the terrorist networks. It has to be said that no government can defeat terrorism without plugging the illicit money to the terror networks. Of course, some federal ministries are taking steps in the right direction, but the pace is quite slow, and a lot more has yet to be done. Civil society is raising concerns over the slow pace of implementation and narrow scope of the Plan’s progress. Opposition parties especially PTI and PPP are blaming the government for its failure in implementation of NAP.
Instead of focusing on implementation of NAP, leaders of almost all political parties are trading barbs and accusing each other of being involved in corruption. Ch Nisar Ali Khan retaliated to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s criticism after Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s report. Talking to media persons after the passing out parade of the Rapid Response Force on Tuesday, the Interior Minister said Bilawal Bhutto has forgotten the Surrey Palace, and Palaces in France and Dubai. He said he was surprised that PPP would launch campaign against corruption whose leaders are drenched in corruption. But by reminding Zardari’s Surrey Palace, $60 million Swiss Bank case, and palaces in France and Dubai, he cannot justify corruption of PML-N leaders. Some analysts view his remarks as an effort to justify corruption of his leaders taking the plea that PPP leaders are also involved in corruption.
In reply to a question, Ch Nisar Ali Khan said he would demand in the Cabinet meeting for making the Abbottabad Commission report public. It has to be mentioned that in January 2013, the report of Abbottabad Commission was submitted to the then prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. After briefing and reviewing the papers, Prime Minister had classified the publications of the report before leaving the office. The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, was leaked by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on 8 July 2013, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government. The Commission’s 336-page report had held both the govt and military responsible for gross incompetence leading to collective failures.
“It is a glaring testimony to the collective incompetence and negligence, at the very least, of the security and intelligence community in the Abbottabad area,” said the report. The report didn’t name the persons responsible for the failures in the hunt for bin Laden as well as the American intrusion into Pakistan and said that it may be politically unrealistic to suggest punishments for them, but “as honourable men, they ought to do the honourable thing, including submitting a formal apology to the nation for their dereliction of duty.” As regards violation of sovereignty by the US on 2nd May 2011when US Marine commandos had raided the Abbottabad Compound and killed Osama bin Laden, one would not know whether the raiders had jammed the radars or the government did not wish to shoot down the helicopters due to the fear of retaliatory action by the Super Power.
It would be appropriate to produce the experts from Preface of the 9/11 Commission Report, which started with these words: “We present the narrative of this report and that flow from it to the President of the United States, the United States Congress, and the American people for their consideration. Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned. We learned of fault lines within our government – between foreign and domestic intelligence, and between and within agencies.” No heads were rolled but the US government took measures in the light of recommendations of the Commission. The lesson for Pakistan is that elected leaders should expedite the implementation of NAP, activate NACTA, as the military has already done its part of the job by destroying militants’ network and hideouts.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
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