Lack of ownership on National Action Plan complicating fight against terrorism

IPRI panel discussion highlights security challenges, proposes solutions

Zubair Qureshi

The National Action Plan (NAP) is an important security document, and significant efforts have been made under it, yet lack of ownership has created impediments in its full and effective implementation.
This was the sum total of the conclusions drawn and recommendations put forward by a panel discussion titled ‘National Action Plan: Imperatives and Impediments’ organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, here in Islamabad on Tuesday.
In his welcome address, President IPRI, Ambassador (R) Abdul Basit said during the past three years, there has been a significant decrease in terror attacks in Pakistan. However, there are areas such as social mobilization, regrouping of terror outfits under new names and terror financing which remain key challenges.
He outlined that the purpose of the discussion was not only to revisit NAP and review its implementation, but also to identify problem areas and solutions.
Giving an overview of NAP’s rationale and the status of implementation of each of its 20-points using the Traffic Light Methodology, Joint Director, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), Aasiya Riaz said while NAP was a landmark blueprint for combating terrorism and violent extremism in Pakistan (achieved through rare consensus of otherwise bitterly opposed political forces besides being a civil-military agreement), the country was not out of the woods yet. She outlined that one major issue in this regard is lack of consensus on differentiation between terrorist groups; and lack of a holistic policy on counter-terrorism and national security. Ms Riaz pointed out that another major problem with NAP is the relative opaqueness about its monitoring with there being no clarity on who is chiefly responsible for oversight and implementation –NACTA, National Security Advisor, or the Prime Minister’s Office. She also said that the role and work of the apex committees at the federal and provincial levels for coordination remain non-functional, with neither being proactive in sharing implementation status. ‘Of all the 20-points, revamping of the Criminal Justice System has been the biggest failure under NAP due to continuing lack of initiative by provincial and federal governments in this area,’ she stressed.

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