LUBP Archive on National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA)

MQM calls for national counterterrorism policy

19 January 2013

Deputy Convener of the Co-ordination Committee of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Dr. Farooq Sattar has said that a national counter terrorism policy should be made as soon as possible as extremism and terrorism are the foremost challenges facing the country.

He said that the counter terrorism policy is needed to ensure a durable peace in Pakistan by eliminating terrorism. This he stated while talking to newsmen after the the soyem of his party’s MPA Manzar Imam here on Saturday. Manzar Imam was martyred on Thursday.

Dr Sattar said it is the need of the hour that political parties and the people of Pakistan get united against terrorism by forgetting their differences. He said that holding elections in present circumstances when terrorism is on the rise has become a challenge.

He said that MQM will take part in the conference proposed by the Awami National Party on the issue of terrorism. He said that a neighborhood watch system should be developed for keeping an eye on suspicious elements.

Dr. Sattar appealed to President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to take action against the elements involved in terrorism. He said that the killers of Manzar Imam must be brought to justice.

19 January 2013


Imran demands comprehensive counterterrorism strategy
APP | 1st January, 2013 0

PTi chief Imran Khan called for a comprehensive plan to tackle with the issue of terrorism in the country- File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Terming terrorism as the biggest challenge for the country in the year 2013, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday called upon the government, political parties and all other stakeholders to sit down and chalk out a comprehensive strategy to flush out terrorists from the country once and for all.

In a statement, Imran Khan said that the menace of terrorism was a major hurdle in the country’s progress.

He said that terrorism was the main cause for the prevailing economic crisis, adding that the government should take immediate steps to provide protection to the people, which was its constitutional obligation.

Condemning the killing of 21 levies officials by the Pakistani Taliban and the targeting of a bus carrying pilgrims in Mastung which claimed another 20 lives, Imran Khan said that during the past years, thousands of innocent people and security personnel had been killed in various terrorist activities.

Imran Khan said that it was need of the hour that the government should take steps to get rid of these problems.

He hoped that the new year would bring a change in the country during which the country would progress by leaps and bounds.

1 Jan 2013


Manzar Imam was an anti-Taliban crusader: Police
By Faraz KhanPublished: January 20, 2013

Armed men on motorcycles shot dead the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) legislator in Karachi. PHOTO: FILE
For the last three years, slain provincial legislator Manzar Imam had been on the hit-list of militants over his “collaboration” with law enforcement agencies in apprehending Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members, investigators revealed.
On Thursday, armed men on motorcycles shot dead the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) legislator, along with his driver and two security guards, in the Orangi Town neighbourhood of Karachi. Investigators told The Express Tribune that in August 2010, Imam had closely coordinated with law-enforcement agencies in arresting the LeJ militants involved in Haider’s assassination – Waseem, aka Waseem Barodi, and Abdullah, aka Taimoor.
They pointed out that Imam had also played a key role in the arrest of five TTP militants allegedly involved in the Ayesha Manzil bomb blast on January 1.
A senior police officer told The Express Tribune that Imam was killed by the Naeem Bukhari group of LeJ, which was also behind Haider’s assassination.
Imam also had a hand in the arrest of Bukhari’s Sindh chapter chief Hafiz Qasim Rasheed in October last year.
“Bukhari is the TTP’s most powerful weapon in Karachi,” CID SSP Fayyaz Khan told The Express Tribune. “The TTP claims responsibility for whatever Bukhari does.”
When questioned, SSP Khan neither confirmed nor denied Imam’s reported coordination with law enforcers. However, he did concede that Imam had been active against terrorists, especially those from LeJ, in Orangi Town.
FIR lodged
Police have registered an FIR against six unidentified people on the complaint of Mazhar Imam, Imam’s brother,.
A nine-member inquiry team has been constituted to probe and arrest the culprits.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2013.


Nations using terror as ‘state policy’ are short-sighted: Hardeep Puri

UNITED NATIONS: Talking tough on terror in the backdrop of tension on the Indo-Pak border, India told UN Security Council that nations using terror as an “instrument of state policy” are “short-sighted” and have invariably themselves suffered immensely from the “Frankenstein monster.”

Participating in a counter-terrorism debate presided over by Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Indian envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said the fight against terrorism has to be “unrelenting and fought across all fronts”.

He emphasized that the international community cannot afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism.

“Terrorism is a Frankenstein monster. Resort to the use of terrorism as an instrument of State Policy is short-sighted. Indeed, those who have taken recourse to it have invariably themselves suffered immensely from it proving the age old dictum that those who play with the sword, shall also perish by it,” Puri said at the debate which was organised here yesterday by Pakistan in its capacity as the current President of the 15-nation powerful Security Council.

While India’s two-year term as non-permanent member at the Council ended last month, it participated in the day-long debate. Khar shook hands and greeted Puri as she was leaving the Security Council hall at the UN headquarters during the debate.

Puri told the Council that India has faced the “scourge of terrorism” for over two-and-a-half decades with the entire South Asian region being “wracked by the activities of the biggest terrorist actors in the world, be they al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud Daawa, elements of Taliban and others.”

He said terrorism, extremism and radicalization continue to pose a serious challenge to peace, progress and prosperity in the region.

Puri noted that the landscape of international terrorism has undergone vast changes over the years, with terrorists becoming globalized in their outreach and activities.

“They recruit in one country, raise funds in another and operate in others and are waging an asymmetric warfare against the international community,” the Indian Ambassador said.
He said terrorists’ “veritable nexus” with transnational organized crime, drug and arms trafficking is well-established and terrorist financing, illicit money laundering, drug trafficking, piracy and illicit arms trade remain intertwined in a complex web of toxic relationship.

India accuse Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde last week said Lashkar-e- Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed had visited the border areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir a few days before the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops at the Line of Control.

Puri expressed concern over the growing risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, who are capable of misusing cyberspace and related technologies.

“Terrorism today constitutes the most pressing challenge to international peace and security. It is a scourge that undermines peace, democracy and freedom and endangers the foundations of democratic societies. It is a global threat that recognizes no border, nationality, ethnicity or religion and there is hardly any region of the world that has not been scarred by terrorism,” he added.

Puri reiterated India’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, emphasising that no cause or grievance can justify taking recourse to terrorism.

He stressed that the UN needs to strengthen the normative framework for its counter-terrorism strategy through the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

India, which has been in the forefront of global counter- terrorism efforts, had chaired the UNSC Counter-terrorism Committee during 2011-12. India was instrumental in introducing ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism in UN lexicon, providing a renewed momentum to global counter-terrorism efforts.

Puri noted that the success in fight against terrorism goes “hand-in-hand” with progress in strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation and exchange of information at the international, regional and sub-regional level.

16 Jan 2013


Toothless tiger: Without legal cover, counter-terrorism body resembles research lab
By Our Correspondent
Published: December 24, 2012

Despite cabinet approval last month, bill’s future seems doubtful as govt drags its feet.
ISLAMABAD: Next week, it will be exactly four years since Pakistan set up a National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta). But it has done little more than produce research papers because it is still waiting for legal cover to work.
The authority was set up in December 2008 by then prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, as the need grew for the law enforcement agencies to be on the same page. For example, as Nacta chief Khawaja Khalid Farooq told The Express Tribune, if the Nacta Bill 2012 were passed, they would be empowered to liaise with the intelligence agencies.
“The bill must be passed now or never,” he stressed. And indeed, the timing could not be more crucial. On Saturday, a suicide bomber attacked a political rally in Peshawar, killing senior minister Bashir Bilour and several others in a major setback for the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province.

Though Nacta’s Farooq did not explain the delay over the bill, he underlined that the interior ministry must do its job to ensure all law enforcement agencies are collaborating on a comprehensive counter-terrorism plan.
As the ministry of law and justice is involved, its minister, Farooq H Naek, would have ideally been able to explain the delay as well. But he too was short on answers and referred to the interior ministry. “[It] is dealing with the matter,” he told The Express Tribune.
Last month, when the federal cabinet approved the Nacta Bill 2012, it said that it must be tabled in parliament as soon as possible. Naek could not comment on whether this would happen either.
The Express Tribune earlier reported former Nacta chief Dr Zafarullah Khan as saying that a long tussle with the interior ministry was to blame for the delay. The interior ministry had proposed Interior Minister Rehman Malik should head the board of governors, something that was not acceptable to the directors.
In the meanwhile, Nacta has managed to prepare close to a dozen research papers on counter-terrorism measures, such as keeping a check on banned outfits and prosecuting people involved in terrorist activities. Without legal cover, however, the authority cannot suggest amendments to laws to tackle terrorism.
Furthermore, with proper legislation, Nacta representatives can seek international support to expand existing law enforcement and security mechanisms. According to Farooq, the authority plans to enhance partnerships on cyber security, terrorist databases, the development of training manuals, de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programmes, and the establishment of national counter-terrorism training centres at the national police academy.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012.


Ashraf calls on forces to redefine counter-terrorism policy
News Comments (1)
Staff Report Saturday, 5 Jan 2013 3:11 am | Comments (1)
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf on Friday urged the armed forces to redefine military strategies and doctrine to tackle the threats to national security and sovereignty, assuring that the government would stand by the military to provide a strong support in the war against terrorism.
Addressing the 14th National Security Workshop at the National Defence University (NDU), the prime minister said today’s complex and multi-faceted concept of national security was neither a pursuit of the military alone, nor was its management the exclusive domain of a selected few.
Assuring the government’s support to the armed forces in the war on terror, he said national security institutions must improve intelligence gathering and establish effective coordination among civil and military institutions to attain optimum results. “Threats to Pakistan’s national security stem mainly from non-state actors who are targeting the state’s symbols and institutions in a bid to impose their agenda. It is an enemy that is nameless and faceless,” Ashraf said.
“We are living in a world undergoing dynamic changes,” he added, “where traditional notions of security and sovereignty are being constantly redefined. There is a need to come to grips with the implications of this flux in intra-state and international relations.” Elaborating, the PM said effective pursuit of national security goals required developing a strategic framework that encompassed all elements of national power. “It must focus on the complex ways in which national, regional and global factors impinge upon the security outlook of a country. The key imperatives of a comprehensive national security paradigm include sustainable socio-economic growth, political sovereignty and stability, rule of law, food security, stable state institutions and technological advancements,” Ashraf remarked. Recognising and praising the sacrifices made by security forces to defend the motherland, he was of the view that the need of the time was to work on a strategy that could comprehensively tackle the menace, adding that “we have to redesign and redefine our military doctrine to achieve this objective”. Urging both parliament and the security forces to stay on the same page, the PM said no military action could succeed alone, as the political will and support of the people were critical to its success.
Ashraf added that the entire nation and parliament stood behind their armed forces in their struggle to secure the future of our children. “The present democratic government can rightfully take pride in the fact that it gave political ownership to the war against terrorism. The Swat Model, as it globally came to be known, represents the finest example of a combination of political strategy and modern warfare,” he said. The prime minister said for a country to be able to protect its national security, it was incumbent that every institution worked within its constitutional ambit.
“Political stability is critically linked to national security,” he remarked. Ashraf stated that economic diplomacy was an integral part of the foreign policy. “The grant of GSP plus status to Pakistan by the European Union bears testimony to our efforts in seeking concessions to enhance international trade relations. The forces of doom and gloom thrive in an environment of chaos, uncertainty and instability. We need to guard against all such forces, which are out to derail the system so assiduously put in place after a protracted struggle.” Commenting on the media, Ashraf said the media was crucial to building consensus on broad contours of national security. “I have unflinching faith in the people of Pakistan. They have always risen to the occasion. We will defeat the forces of darkness who cast evil designs on our culture, values and a way of life. I have no doubt about it,” he added.

5 Jan 2013


Strategy urged to counter terror

Our Correspondent
Saturday, December 22, 2012
From Print Edition

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THE Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG) of Forman Christian (FC) College organised a two-day policy dialogue on “Balancing Counter Terrorism Legislation and Civil Liberties” and “Cyber Crime, Pakistan and Future Scenario” in collaboration with the British High Commission in Pakistan.

The participants observed that the commitment of Pakistani government in devising the counter terrorism strategies was evident but it must ensure the commitment to a national strategy to counter the terrorism.

The government should also formulate fair laws in order to protect the general public from exploitation, they urged.

On this occasion, Dr. Manzar Abbas Zaidi, a PhD in Terrorism Studies and an advisor to the British High Commission, spoke on how Counter Terrorism Legislation had struggled to find the right balance between preserving civil liberties and interests of the community around the world.

Manzar elaborated with examples how perfectly reasonable seeming laws could have unintended consequences on civic liberties. For him, the only way out is to increase the reliance on forensic science, as it is eternal. Otherwise, he says the focus of our prosecution system is on the testimonial ocular evidence system which has many inherent problems. Forensic evidence stays forever and can be accessed anytime whereas eye-witnesses may change statements, disappear or die.

22 Dec 2012


Anti-terrorism body

The federal cabinet has finally given its approval to a
Bill seeking to give mandatory legal cover to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) to better conduct the struggle against terrorism. The Bill had been due to be tabled earlier to legally strengthen an existing body set up in 2009, which had proved ineffective. It has taken three long years and many deaths and destruction due to terrorism before the Bill has seen the light of day. The body set up in 2009 was in practice reduced to an ineffective cell within the interior ministry, reportedly because other agencies, particularly the military intelligence arms, had reservations about the command structure of the proposed body. Former Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani had set up a three-member cabinet committee to look into the matter and make recommendations. One prominent dissident on the committee was Senator Raza Rabbani of the PPP, who candidly expressed the view that the body should be headed by none other than the PM and not by the interior minister. Lengthy and perambulatory discussions on the issue failed to yield positive results until now. Reportedly, NACTA would now be headed by the PM and have as its members the chief ministers of all the provinces and heads of intelligence agencies, both civilian and military. Of course, the Bill now has to be passed by both houses of parliament before it becomes law. How long that process will take, and whether it can be completed before the next elections, is uncertain. Even now, there were reportedly dissenting voices amongst the federal cabinet ministers who argued that the need was to strengthen the existing intelligence and security agencies rather than creating a new supra-body. The point they seem to have missed is that the existing structure has spectacularly failed to combat growing terrorism because precisely of the lack of coordination amongst federal and provincial agencies on the one hand, and military and civilian agencies on the other. The most potent demonstration of the efficacy of such a coordination was provided by the massive mobilization and cooperation amongst all agencies to keep the peace during Muharram 9th and 10th, which arguably minimized terrorist attacks and for which the Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik for a change received appreciation by his cabinet colleagues rather than the usual brickbats.

During the media briefing after the cabinet meeting, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira outlined the scope and thrust envisaged for NACTA. It would be a body conducting research, policymaking, coordination amongst all agencies, and develop long-term policies for combating the terrorist mindset. To achieve the last objective, it could look into curricula, drama, films, and introduce modern education in madrassas, this objective having come to grief despite half-hearted efforts during General Musharraf’s regime. While these aspects are long overdue, the government may also look into the treatment terrorists and their ideas receive on the media and set up guidelines to starve the terrorists of the oxygen of publicity, while framing their ideas in the correct perspective and not sympathetically, as often happens consciously or inadvertently in the media at present. The NACTA Bill should also, if it has not already, look into the legal lacunae that allow terrorists of all hues and shades to wriggle free because of the inadequacy of our laws, prosecution regime, and lack of witness protection against threats and intimidation by the terrorists.

We have consistently argued in this space for the need to set up a body like NACTA. The lack of coordination, sharing information and data bases on the terrorists amongst federal and provincial agencies and military and civilian ones has given so many gaps for the terrorists to exploit. The nature of the terrorist threat that afflicts the country is that of decentralized small groups operating underground. There is therefore hardly anything resembling a centralized command for the terrorist movement as a whole, which may be more amenable to decapitation. Given the nature of the beast, small victories accumulated by pre-empting and taking out these small groups one by one will eventually translate into a critical mass of degradation of their capacity to wreak havoc. This depends crucially on excellent and in time intelligence. With the PM heading the proposed NACTA, there is room for greater confidence that all agencies and authorities, federal, provincial and military, will finally be on the same page and without rancour or rivalries eroding its effectiveness. Even if NACTA arrives too close to or after the impending elections, the nature of the struggle against terrorism being of a protracted nature, it is an enterprise worth pursuing irrespective of the timeline involved if Pakistan is to be freed of the clutches of debilitating terrorism.

30 Nov 2012


NACTA research paper, documentary cost kitty Rs527m
By: Imran Mukhtar | November 29, 2012 . 1

ISLAMABAD – At a time when federal cabinet has given a go-ahead to National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Bill 2012 to be further passed by the Parliament, the country’s higher counter-terrorism authority has spent more than Rs 527 million from the national kitty since its establishment in 2009 with almost zero performance, it emerged on Wednesday.
It further came to light that no major project is on the credit of NACTA since its establishment as it just made a 25 minutes documentary on Swat military operation and just got published one research paper since its birth. A NACTA representative shared this information with Senate Standing Committee on Interior during its meeting held on Wednesday at the Parliament House.
According to details, NACTA spent Rs 215.6 million during the fiscal 2009-10, 102 million each for the budget year 2010-11 and 2011-12 and Rs 97 million during the current fiscal year.
Chairman Committee Senator Talha Mahmood remarked that NACTA had become a liability and it had to be evaluated whether NACTA needed or not. He also observed that NACTA was an official NGO and nothing more.
NACTA representative told the committee that the Authority was working on another project regarding the role of mother and teacher to de-radicalise the youth.
The committee sought complete detail from NACTA regarding total budget allocated to it and its total expenditure since its establishment, the list of the government officials working there with department wise and province wise break-up. The committee has sought the details of officials working on deputation in NACTA and their length of service there. The committee also decided to summon the founder as well as first National Coordinator of NACTA, Tariq Pervez, who resigned from he post in 2010 after seeing no progress in the performance of NACTA. Tariq Pervez is a retired PSP officer who has also worked as director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
NACTA is lying dormant since its establishment mainly because the federal government failed to give a legal cover to it for around three years as the NACTA Ordinance introduced in 2009 could not be tabled in the Parliament for passage to further to become a law. Once former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in 2010 at a meeting held with all chief ministers chief secretaries and other security establishment officers had decided to reactivate NACTA but all ended in smoke.
The Authority was to act as a research organisation and as a focal institution to coordinate and unify counter-terrorism efforts for which the EU had pledged 15 million euros. It had to work as a think tank as well as conduct research, propose measures and to chalk out a national counter terrorism action plan after consulting all stakeholders.

29 Nov 2012


Cabinet approves NACTA bill

November 28, 2012 – Updated 2227 PKT
From Web Edition

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ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet approved a draft of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) bill 2012, to effectively eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.

This was stated by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Wednesday, following the cabinet meeting here.

He said Pakistan was fighting terrorism and all institutions are striving to curb this menace, but there is a need for better coordination among the institutions fighting terrorism.

According to sources, the Cabinet also approved the Electoral Reforms Bill 2012. The Bill has increased the limit for election campaign expenditures from Rs1.5 million to Rs 5 million for a National Assembly candidate and from Rs 1 million to Rs 3 million for a candidate of the Provincial Assembly.

The Prime Minister, he said, expressed his grief over the loss of precious lives in the explosions in Rawalpindi and Dera Ismail Khan. “May Allah rest the departed souls in peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear this loss,” the Prime Minister prayed.

Kaira said that the Prime Minister also prayed for early recovery of those who were injured. In this regard, the Prime Minister said that he has already ordered inquiry on these sad incidents and assured that the culprits would he brought to justice.

He prayed that with the help and prayers of people of Pakistan we would be able to defeat the terrorists. In this regard, the Prime Minister also appreciated the role of general public, religious leaders and the media for maintenance of peace and harmony during Moharram.

He expressed the hope that the kind of cooperation that took place on this occasion amongst the law enforcing agencies, media and the public would continue in future as well and would contribute towards eliminating such terrorists’ activities.

The Prime Minister also deliberated upon important issue of the D-8 summit recently held in Islamabad.

In this summit, he said, D-8 countries agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was crucial for development of the region. The D-8 summit was very successful and holding of such a mega event after 8 years is a clear reflection of member states’ cordial relations and confidence in the democratic government of Pakistan.

He said that important ideas like establishment of development and trade banks, encouraging better trade and currency swap amongD-8 member states were floated by President Asif Ali Zardari and were well received by all member states.

During this conference, the President emphasized upon increased interaction between parliament, media and civil society ofD-8 member states. Operationalization of Preferential Trade Agreement was also an important point emphasized in the Summit. Economic reforms process undertaken by Pakistan, despite difficulties, was greatly appreciated by the leaders of D-8countries, he added. (APP)


Cabinet okays counter-terrorism bill

Thursday, November 29, 2012
From Print Edition

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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to establish a new counter-terrorism body aimed at better coordinating efforts to defeat extremism. The cabinet also approved amendments in election laws in lieu of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting here, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the main objective was to defeat terrorism, but he provided no details on exactly how the new organisation would help.

“The cabinet today approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Bill the need for which has been felt for a long time,” Kaira told reporters.

Kaira said the new authority would “devise policies and improve coordination among provincial governments and intelligence agencies” as well as “research and devise long-term policies to defeat” the terrorist mindset.

“The authority may suggest changes in curriculum, drama and films and it can also suggest introducing modern education in Madaris,” Kaira said.The process would mark the first time that a democratically-elected civilian government completes a full term in office and is replaced by another elected administration.

Kaira said Pakistan was facing terrorism and all the institutions were striving to curb this menace, but there was a need for more coordination among the institutions fighting terrorism.

The minister said that in his opening remarks, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf conveyed appreciation of the cabinet on the security arrangements during the Muharram-ul-Haram made by Interior Minister Rahman Malik, all the provincial governments, armed forces, police, Rangers and all the security agencies and for their untiring efforts in maintaining law and order during Muharram.

The prime minister, he said, expressed his grief over the loss of precious lives in the explosions in Rawalpindi and Dera Ismail Khan.

The prime minister also deliberated upon the important issue of the D-8 Summit recently held in Islamabad.

Kaira said that in the past, the President House was used for conspiring against democratic governments, but the incumbent president had strengthened democracy by empowering parliament and giving up his discretionary powers voluntarily.

He said that in the past, conspirators were at the Presidency, who conspired to strengthen themselves at the cost of the democratic set-up.

He said that he could not understand whether the country needed “a democratic president or a conspirator president.”

To a question, he said that present democratic government was committed to promoting the politics of reconciliation and would continue its efforts to avoid policies of confrontation. He said that if Nawaz Sharif had said something positive about President Zardari, it should be appreciated.

About Imran Khan’s statement, he said that we are political forces and will have to coexist and cannot always point guns at each other.

To a question about the D-8 conference, he said that prime minister was on board on the whole matter but historically the Presidency hosts the summit.

He said that Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, and its role for promotion of peace in the world were appreciated and we should welcome this development instead of finding negativity in all the matters.

He said that dates of D-8 like summits are finalised in advance and consultation with other countries and blaming the government for the summit in Muharram was unjustified.

“We all are Muslims and respect the holy month of Muharram, but we mourn and work during Muharram,” he said.

To a question, the minister for information said that the NACTA Bill was to be tabled before the cabinet earlier, but it was delayed as improvements were being made in it.

He said already a cell in the Interior Ministry was working but with the establishment of the new authority, there would be better coordination with all institutions and provinces.

About the decisions made by the government after the 1990 elections, he said that the courts should take notice of their legal status and the government would also consider its options.

Answering a question about the local government elections, he said that it should be held but in Sindh the matter was sub judice and the Punjab was deferring them.

To a question about the ZAB Medical University at PIMS, he said that all admissions would be done on merit.

About the proposed raise in support price of wheat, he said that the farmers of the country need to get a proper price of their produce. He said that salaries of the employees and labourers wages have increased so there was no justification in not increasing the wheat support price.Moreover, he said that the step was also needed to control smuggling of the edibles.


Some ministers oppose move to set up NACTA: Cabinet approves bill on counter-terrorism body
From the Newspaper | Khawar Ghumman | 29th November, 2012 0

ISLAMABAD, Nov 28: After about three years of foot-dragging, the federal cabinet finally approved on Wednesday the draft of National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill 2012.

The authority, set up through an executive order during the latter part of 2009, remained ineffective in the absence of mandatory legal cover.

Although the cabinet gave its nod to the bill, some ministers were not happy with the idea of setting up the authority in the presence of a number of other agencies working to curb terrorism.

According to sources, one of the ministers was of the opinion that there was a need for capacity-building of the people already working in intelligence and security agencies, instead of setting up another body. The minister wondered what good the body would bring to the country if the people working on the ground were not adequately equipped.

“On the face of it, this counter-terrorism authority looks like a supra-national entity with no clear mandate,” intoned another minister disapproving the idea of setting up the NACTA.

The minister said there were Intelligence Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency and special units within police to deal with terrorism. And the military establishment has its own wings to counter terrorism. The only need was to improve coordination between these agencies and improve their operational strength, the minister argued.

And there was a minister from Karachi who was of the view that unless the county dealt with the increasing radicalisation of society, these agencies wouldn’t make any difference. “The only way to stop a young mind from becoming a suicide bomber is to educate him, to stop him from falling into the hands of extremists, not by setting up these counter-terrorism organisations.

They would only prove to be an extra burden on an already depleted national kitty,” the sources quoted the minister as saying.

After an in-depth discussion on the NACTA bill, the cabinet decided to take it to parliament for another round of discussion before converting the bill into an act of parliament.

The idea behind setting up the NACTA was to reinforce counter-terrorism efforts in the country. At the time of establishment of the authority, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said it would work as a think-tank and conduct research and propose measures to chalk out a counter-terrorism action plan after consulting all stakeholders.

He said the authority would have an intelligence wing which would operate in collaboration with other agencies to strengthen the intelligence network.

Briefing the media on the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said all available institutions were putting in their efforts to curb terrorism, but there was a need for better coordination among these institutions and the NACTA was intended to address this need.

In reply to a question about the Supreme Court’s directive to the government for recovery of $120 million from Karkay, a Turkish ship-mounted power plant, he said such interventions created problems for the government, but “we have to comply with court’s orders”.

APPRECIATION: It was one of the rare cabinet meetings when the ministers across political parties praised Interior Minister Rehman Malik for his efforts to maintain law and order on Ashura day. Among them were ministers who otherwise never missed a chance to come down hard on him, according to a participant of the meeting.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was all praise for the minister, too.

APPROVAL: The cabinet also approved the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2012. Pursuant to Article 219 of the Constitution as amended under the 18th Amendment, some consequential amendments were required to be made in the representation of the Peoples Act, 1976, and the Senate (Election) Act, 1975, to bring the provisions of the said statutes in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, which the cabinet endorsed on Wednesday.

The cabinet endorsed a draft bill relating to establishment of the Global Change Impact Studies Centre as an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Climate Change through an act of parliament.

It also approved the signing of letters of exchange between the Ministry of Defence and Nato.

The cabinet approved holding of negotiations on an agreement for setting up a joint ministerial commission on economic cooperation between Pakistan and Tanzania. It approved the signing of an export credit facility for fertilisers between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and an agreement with Vietnam for cooperation in the field of sports.

An agreement on security cooperation between Pakistan and Iran was also approved.

The cabinet decided to set up Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad.

28 Nov 2012


Nacta: a non-starter
From the Newspaper | Zahid Hussain | 4th December, 2012 1

IT has taken more than three years for the federal cabinet to finally approve a draft bill providing legal cover to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta).

But even if passed by the National Assembly the legislation may not bring to life the dormant body created in 2009 to coordinate efforts to fight violent extremism in the country and develop a coherent counterterrorism strategy. Without autonomy, Nacta is likely to be consigned to yet another ineffective section of the interior ministry and become a new source of employment for ruling party loyalists.

The new bill has placed the authority under the umbrella of the interior ministry taking away charge from the prime minister as provided in the original charter. This has not only curtailed whatever little autonomy Nacta had, but also relegated the status of the country’s supposedly premier counterterrorism organisation to that of an ordinary government organisation. This non-serious attitude has dealt a grievous blow to our already weak stance on dealing with militancy and terrorism.

Established under an executive order in 2009 the idea behind Nacta was for the organisation to act essentially as a coordinating body to unify counterterrorism efforts of various civil and military intelligence agencies. At the same time, it was also supposed to work as a think tank, conduct research, propose measures to deal with the rising menace of radicalisation and develop a comprehensive national counterterrorism action plan in coordination with all stakeholders.

Another important component of Nacta’s mandate was to develop a central information database of militant networks and collect intelligence on their activities. But no progress seems to have been made in any of these aspects because of non-cooperation of various stakeholders and internal bickering.

The need for such an organisation became all the more urgent as Pakistan evolved into a major battlefield for Al Qaeda and its allied militant groups presenting a serious threat to the country’s internal security. The decade-long militant violence has killed thousands of people.

The growing radicalisation of youth provides a constant supply of recruits to the militant and sectarian groups that continue to operate with impunity turning parts of the country into killing fields. The rising religion-based violence also threatens to tear apart the nation’s social fabric, raising the spectre of a sectarian civil war.

A major reason for Pakistan’s failure to effectively deal with the rising violent extremism and militant insurgency has been the absence of a clear perception of the nature of the threat and the capacity to deal with the challenge.

There has not been any coordination and cooperation among the ISI, IB, the police and various other agencies involved in counterterrorism efforts. All these stakeholders have been working in their own compartments with no clear national policy and strategy in place to contain the rising militancy.

It has been more firefighting than a long-term plan of action to counter terrorism and extremism. The absence of a coordinated and coherent counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation policy has given huge space to extremist and militant groups. The lack of political will and consensus among the major political forces has also contributed to the dire situation in which the country finds itself today.

A coherent national counterterrorism strategy is also critical for the success of the Pakistan Army’s counterinsurgency campaign in the tribal areas and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The two are inseparable. But, unfortunately, the military operations have not been accompanied by a robust action plan to root out the terrorist networks operating in different parts of the country. The lack of coordination has allowed the militants to move freely from one place to another without being apprehended.

The decision of the elected civilian government to set up Nacta was a step in the right direction. It was meant to fill the critical organisational gap hampering Pakistan’s battle against radicalisation and violent extremism.

But, unfortunately, the project could not take off despite generous financial and technical help from the European Union and other countries. The organisation remained ineffective for three years because of the lack of a legal framework within which it was to operate.

A major reason for the delay in moving the legislation was the constant wrangling over the control of the organisation. Rehman Malik was adamant that it should be placed under the interior ministry.

But such an arrangement was not acceptable to many stakeholders, particularly the ISI, IB and the Punjab government. Even the top officials at Nacta believed that placing the authority under the interior ministry would undermine its autonomy and professional objectivity.

It made no sense putting the authority under the interior ministry while its stakeholders came under the prime minister. It is clear that neither the ISI nor IB were willing to cooperate with the authority working under the control of the interior ministry. The distrust between the military and civilian government has also been a factor in the ISI’s lack of interest.

The unresolved issue of control resulted in complete paralysis of the organisation. In the past three years since its inception in 2009, Nacta has had six coordinators.
Most of them either resigned or were sent packing by the government because of their differences with the interior minister.

The induction of officials on a political basis rather than on merit has also raised some serious concerns about the professionalism and effectiveness of the authority.
Nacta has little to show for its performance despite spending more than Rs500 million over the last three years.

There is still time for the government to review the bill before it is sent to parliament for a vote. The need for an autonomous counterterrorism authority has never been greater than it is today when terrorism and radicalisation present the biggest threat to the country’s existence. The government should act before it is too late.

The writer is an author and journalist.
Twitter: @hidhussain

4 Dec 2012


Cabinet approves draft to form new counter-terrorism body
AFP | 28th November, 2012 0

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to establish a new counter terrorism body aimed at better coordinating efforts to defeat Taliban and al Qaeda-linked violence, a minister said.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the main objective was to defeat terrorism, but he provided no details on exactly how the new organisation would help.

“The cabinet today approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill the need for which has been felt for a long time,” Kaira told reporters after a regular cabinet meeting.

To come into effect the bill needs to be approved by parliament and signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Kaira said the new authority would “devise policies and improve coordination among provincial governments and intelligence agencies” as well as “research and devise long-term policies to defeat” the terrorist mindset.

“The authority may suggest changes in curriculum, drama and films and it can also suggest introducing modern education in madrassas,” Kaira said.

Previous attempts to reform religious seminaries, considered by many as nurseries for recruits to the Taliban and other extremist organisations, have born little fruit.

At least 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan, according to the government.

Suicide attacks, roadside bombings and shootings are a near day-to-day reality, particularly in parts of the northwest near the Afghan border.

28 Nov 12


Troubleshooting inefficiencies: Counter-terrorism authority berated over performance
By Zahid GishkoriPublished: November 29, 2012

“NACTA has now become an official NGO. The government will have to reassess its importance.” says senator Mehmood. PHOTO: FILE
The country’s top counter-terrorism authority has spent over Rs524 million in counterinsurgency efforts to battle violence and extremism but ended up producing only a brief documentary and a couple of research papers since its establishment four years ago.
The National Counter Terrorism Authority’s (NACTA) main objective was to foil terrorist acts in the post 9/11 scenario following an unprecedented rise in militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. To envisage liaising between civil and military intelligence agencies was its secondary purpose. But lawmakers have observed that the body has been fruitless in achieving its targets: “NACTA has completely failed to serve its objective,” officials told a Senate Panel on Wednesday.
Lawmakers expressed reservations over NACTA’s performance hours before the federal cabinet approved a draft law to establish a new counter terrorism body aimed at better coordination efforts to defeat terrorists.
Then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the creation of NACTA under an executive order in December 2008 when NACTA’s former director general (DG) Tariq Pervaiz floated the idea after getting superannuation as the DG of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
NACTA Deputy Coordinator Arif Akram informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that the body spent some Rs13 million in 2008, Rs210 million in 2009, Rs102 million in 2010 and 2011 each and this year the Ministry of Finance allocated Rs97 million to it for the current fiscal year.
After receiving these details, Senate Panel Chairman Senator Talha Mehmood observed: “NACTA has now become an official NGO (non-governmental organisation). The government will have to reassess its importance.”

After a detailed briefing, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Fateh Hassani hit hard on the man who had floated the idea. “NACTA has lost its utility,” he claimed. The Senate panel has also summoned the body’s pioneer, Pervaiz, for a detailed briefing on the idea he had floated to curb militancy in Pakistan.
In its defence, NACTA’s Research and Planning Director Khizer Hayat Nagra told the committee that the body had prepared a number of research papers, including Causes and remedies in Swat turmoil, Trends of terrorism in Pakistan and Dynamics of why people join religious militancy.
He said they were presented before the government besides a documentary called ‘Battle for Paradise’ which was about religious militancy in Swat.
However, there is a long list where NACTA failed to complete its projects. It was unable to prepare a research paper titled: Study on Flaws in Terrorist Prosecution in Pakistan. A research paper titled: Proposing a Counter IED understanding has still not been published either.
The authority also failed to prepare ‘Radicalisation in Pakistan: Problem Analysis and Future Strategies for De-radicalisation’ which it was supposed to present it to the government last month. Two projects relating to ‘Data mining of terrorist incidents and terrorist profiling’, and ‘Compendium on CT Laws in Pakistan’ also could not be finalised due to unknown reasons.
Paper shortage
While discussing other matters, passport authorities informed the Senate panel that over 200,000 passports could not be delivered in time due non availability of paper.
They requested lawmakers to direct the Ministry of Finance to release funds so that the passport office could pay its liability to the Security Printing Press.
“Currently, we produce 6,000 to 7,000 passports daily but we have a capacity of producing over 20,000 if the government provides us papers freely,” officials said.
The panel will visit the finance ministry office today (Thursday) to ensure the release of funds to passport office for this purpose.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2012.


Federal Cabinet approves new counter terrorism bill
By Web Desk / AFP Published: November 28, 2012

The cabinet also approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill. PHOTO: APP/ FILE
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has approved amendments in Election Laws in lieu of the 18th constitutional amendment on Wednesday and approved the formation of a new counter-terrorism authority, reported Radio Pakistan.
Pakistan is scheduled to hold general elections in the first half of next year.
The process would mark the first time that a democratically elected civilian government completes a full term in office and is replaced by another elected administration.
NCTA Bill approved
“The cabinet today approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill the need for which has been felt for a long time,” Kaira told reporters.
To come into effect the bill needs to be approved by parliament and signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Kaira said the new authority would “devise policies and improve coordination among provincial governments and intelligence agencies” as well as “research and devise long-term policies to defeat” the terrorist mindset.
“The authority may suggest changes in curriculum, drama and films and it can also suggest introducing modern education in madrassas,” Kaira said.
Previous attempts to reform religious seminaries, considered nurseries for recruits to the Taliban and other extremist organisations, have born little fruit.
New medical universtity in Islamabad
The cabinet also decided to establish a medical university at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in Islamabad.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, speaking to the media, said that the medical university would be named after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and would be a federal chartered university imparting post-graduate medical education.
The cabinet also decided to give autonomous status to the Climate Change Impact Study Centre, which will also have a representation of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

28 Nov 12



A national counterterrorism policy
From the Newspaper | Khawaja Khalid Farooq | 8th May, 2012 11

AFTER 9/11, Pakistan has been beset by the twin menace of radicalisation and terrorism.

A national policy to deal with the menace of terrorism is a dire necessity, something which is one of the mandated tasks of the nascent National Counter Terrorism Authority of Pakistan (Nacta).

A national counterterrorism strategy has to be drafted and shared with the public, with civil society taking an active part in the deliberations.

This comprehensive strategy should not just have law-enforcement agencies and the military, but should also involve others, for example educationists, who could be required to evaluate outmoded curricula and replace them with more tolerant non-sectarian versions.

Scientists can be involved to jam illegal FM transmissions; the media can generate public-service messages and programmes promoting tolerance. The strategy should remain within the ambit of the rule of law, or it has the potential to become a monster almost as big as the insurgents.

The rule of law needs representative governance. With the arrival of civilian government representing this in 2008, the situation has gradually moved towards a national consensus against terrorism. Democracy must be nurtured in Pakistan, as this is the only way forward for nations to put their affairs in order.

Threat priorities need to be established for the future of the war on terror not only in the Pakistani but in the global context as well. One solution has been the establishment of a counterterrorism environment created by politicians through legislation, budgets and policy decisions.

Legislation will be a part of the directing tangential forces of counterterrorism. In Pakistan, this legislation resonates in the anti-terrorist acts passed by parliament, which need to be constantly reassessed with the changing dynamics of the situation on the ground.

The inherent global challenge would be balancing the rights of citizens and fundamental constitutional guarantees against the increasing threat from terrorism.

This is the delicate balancing act that counterterrorism in the future will continue to face, especially for the security agencies directly involved in these operations, and which perhaps affects the police the most.

Huge challenges for counterterrorism in the future will include coordination which seems to be exponentially increasing.

Future efforts in counterterrorism will require complex investigations involving multiple countries, a variety of types of communication and numerous sources of intelligence. Collectively, there will be an ever-evolving need for more sophisticated forms of counterterrorism and greater resources.

Long-term polices resembling the Blair government‘s CONTEST strategy in the UK need to be in place. The four areas identified as prevention, pursuit, protection and preparedness gain another dimension in the Pakistani context — that of containment, since we have been beset by an insurgency in our northern areas.

This has been reinvented according to our own situation under the government’s policy of dialogue, deterrence and development as the main area of thrust in Pakistan.

The pursuit of improved intelligence, the disruption of terrorist activity and better coordination with international forces fighting terrorism will require improved cooperation. Protection of homeland security installations will require improved domestic security of ports and public transportation systems.

Preparing for the threat of confrontation will require an ever-increasing readiness to respond to terrorist attacks.

The complete elimination of terrorism may not be possible, but adequate containment is the path to be followed. A sincere effort must be made to study individuals prone to radicalisation and who are thus potential recruits for terrorist groups.

Rather than just firefighting, we need to find out the causes: why is there terrorism, why are people becoming radicalised, how are they radicalised? Only then can we deal with these issues.

The future of counterterrorism will also be shaped to a certain extent by the relationships among the various organisations involved in the war against terrorism, which of course stands true for Nacta as well.

While the new threats resulted in the grant of emergency powers to governments to get more powers and additional resources, sometimes the evolution of coordination has been too reactive, short-term and politicised.

This has occasionally caused slow governmental responses to increase resources going into counterterrorism. Police forces are critical in the counterterrorism future, due to their presence on the ground and their ability to carry out arrests.

The key to long-term containment of terrorism, beyond tactical policing and security measures designed to detect and defeat zealots, is to reduce the supply of terrorists. It must be recognised that terrorism requires a small core of radicalised individuals bent on carrying out acts of violence.

What government policy must ensure is that these individuals are kept marginalised within their own communities. They must not be allowed to lead others along the path of violence. If they are isolated then they can be contained, either by the state or by their own communities. Without a support network, they pose a much smaller threat.

Summing up, successful counterterrorism in the future of a democratic society requires trust and confidence in the efficacy of the security forces because public cooperation is essential.

This can only be done after capturing the so-called hearts and minds of the citizens, particularly in those communities where terrorists are to be found, confronted and contained.

This winning of hearts and minds is what constitutes the core of counterterrorism in the future, not just in Pakistan but across the globe as well, and will continue to do so for times to come.

We have the resolve to fight terrorism, but not the entire panoply of resources needed.

Pakistan is a resilient nation, and will overcome these problems eventually. However, the road ahead needs to be paved with the soundest of policies bolstered by the international community in order to bridge the resource gap failing which, one would expect to see militancy problems continuing in the country.

The writer is head of the National Counter Terrorism Authority, Pakistan, and a former inspector-general of police

8 May 2012


Counter-terrorism authority dormant
From the Newspaper | 25th May, 2011 0

ISLAMABAD, May 24: The National Counter-terrorism Authority (Nacta) is lying dormant as the Nacta Ordinance introduced in 2009 is yet to be tabled in the parliament pending approval of the cabinet.

First chairman of the Authority, a former FIA director general Tariq Parvaiz, appointed by the interior minister Rehman Malik, resigned after seeing no progress on the ordinance in one year.

The prime minister has convened Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) meeting on Wednesday to discuss fresh wave of terrorism. After Data Darbar bomb blasts, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at a meeting of all chief ministers, chief secretaries and other security establishment officers concerned on July 5, 2010 decided to reactivate Nacta.

The authority, set up with much fanfare, was to act as a research organisation for which the EU had pledged 15 million euros. A draft was also being framed to provide a legal cover to it.

After one year discussions and getting input from other political parties like the PML-N it was decided to make the prime minister as its chairman with interior minister as vice-chairman.

The government seems to be in a state of confusion after terrorists stormed the naval base, which has not only eroded its authority but tarnished the image of the security forces.

Experts believe that after the 18-hour occupation of Mehran Naval base by terrorists the government should revert to the idea of reactivating Nacta immediately which should launch its own counter-terror force. They said it was certainly time to act because the terrorists were organised and well funded.

The experts were of the opinion that after defeat in Swat and tribal areas, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was now moving towards urban guerilla warfare.

They said given the enormity of the situation, one would expect of the government to develop some mechanisms to address this challenge.—Ahmad Hassan

25 May 2012



Pakistan creates Counter Terrorism Authority
Sat, 12 Dec 2009

The move comes days after series of terror attacks in all major Pakistani cities that had left hundreds of people dead.

The Pakistani government has established an agency called National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in a move to counter the current wave of violence in the country. According to Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the purpose of the authority is to reinforce the ongoing counter terrorism efforts.

“It would work as a think tank and would conduct research, propose measures and to chalk out a National counter terrorism action plan after consulting all stakeholders”, Malik said, adding that the prime minister had approved the idea, and a budget for the project had also been sanctioned.

The minister said the authority would have an intelligence wing which would operate in collaboration with the various other intelligence agencies and would strengthen the intelligence network in the country.

He explained that NACTA would act as a research organization for which the EU had pledged 15 million euros. He said Interpol had also shown interest in the authority.

The move comes just days after a series of terror attacks, in all major Pakistani cities, that left hundreds of people dead.

Interpol lauds Pakistan for setting up counterterrorism body
Share: by hussain

ISLAMABAD: Interpol Chief Khoo Boon Hui has praised Pakistan for setting up the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), hoping that it would promote greater coordination between intelligence agencies in fighting extremism and terrorism, it was learnt here on Wednesday.

An official source said wishing anonymity that in a letter addressed to NACTA National Coordinator Tariq Parvez, the international police chief said that setting up of NACTA was “a strong testament to the commitment of Pakistan towards addressing the menace of terrorism.”

“The NACTA serves as an effective counterterrorism mechanism by promoting greater coordination in efforts directed at combating terrorism,” he said in the letter delivered here last week.

Pakistan has been the frontline state in the US-led global war on terrorism launched after September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that had killed nearly 3,000 people.

It has been under intense international pressure to do more against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who according to the US officials are using Pakistan’s north-western region as safe havens and planning attacks against the Western targets.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani set up the national authority last month and tasked it to draw up a national strategy in consultation with all the stakeholders to boost counterterrorism efforts.

Pakistan has paid a heavy price in fighting terrorism losing some 2,000 soldiers and suffering an unprecedented spate of suicide bombings and other acts of violence since it joined the US as an ally in the so-called war on terror.

EDITORIAL: Countering terrorism

The government’s decision to establish the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) is a welcome move. NACTA will serve as a focal institution to “coordinate and unify” national counter-terrorism efforts. It seems as if we never do anything when the need has been palpably felt for some time or until we are nudged from abroad. For the last two years, it was obvious that without a coordinating super-agency to bring all the intelligence and security organisations together, the struggle against terrorism would always be fought with one hand tied behind our backs. Fortuitously, since the European Union (EU) has pledged15 million for NACTA, the government has finally given it a green signal. Interpol, too, has expressed interest in this agency. Had this agency been formed earlier, things might have been quite different. Logically, the optimal path would have been to pool all the intelligence in order to pre-empt terrorist attacks. Arguably, because of lack of coordination, gaps emerged that were inevitably exploited by the terrorist networks.

Prime Minister Gilani has announced that NACTA would have three wings: one to counter extremism, second to counter terrorism and the third for research and analysis. Tariq Pervez — former FIA director general — has been appointed Chairman NACTA. It is not clear, however, whether the military and civilian intelligence agencies would answer to him.

There has been some criticism of the Interior Ministry lately as it has failed to pre-empt or stop terrorist attacks in recent months. Though this is inherently a difficult task, without good intelligence and with a lack of coordination at the national level, the ministry was hampered in countering terrorist activities. The intelligence agencies need to boost their efforts to infiltrate the terrorist networks. Although it is in the nature of the intelligence agencies not to share information with others, it is advisable at this point in time that they submit their reports vis-à-vis terrorism at least to NACTA. The terrorists have united under one roof, whereas our intelligence agencies work separately. This has made the task of the terrorists far easier. Thus it is very important that our security forces, police and intelligence agencies cooperate with each other to help eradicate terrorism from our soil.

The newly appointed NACTA Chairman said that once the agency becomes functional, a ‘national action plan’ would be drawn up, in addition to periodic threat assessment reports. These steps are of vital importance as the terrorist networks have to be dealt with with an iron hand. Military operations alone cannot serve the purpose; a proper plan of action is required to ensure that the terrorists are crushed. The belated move to establish a counter-terrorism agency at the national level is a step in the right direction. It is hoped that it lives up to expectations.

12 Dec 2009

National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA): A wise step by the people’s government


Useful links:

US Govt National Counter-terrorism Center



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