| Crime & Justice

Pakistan records progress on National Action Plan

By Adeel Saeed


Pakistani security personnel display seized weapons and ammunition in Quetta April 15, 2016. Security forces have renewed their focus on implementing the counter-terrorism National Action Plan (NAP), a progress report from March shows. [Banaras Khan/AFP]

Pakistani security personnel display seized weapons and ammunition in Quetta April 15, 2016. Security forces have renewed their focus on implementing the counter-terrorism National Action Plan (NAP), a progress report from March shows. [Banaras Khan/AFP]

PESHAWAR -- Pakistan is implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) with renewed focus, a recent progress report shows.

Pakistani forces have killed 1,865 terrorists and arrested 5,611 suspects since adopting the plan in January 2015, according to the NAP progress report, seen by Dawn.

Moreover, authorities executed at least 414 terrorists under the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), said the report.

Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman presented the findings to the Senate March 10.

The government enacted the NAP after the militant attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, with the objective of cracking down on terrorism and supplementing on-going military operations. The attackers killed about 150 children and teachers.

Taking down hate speech, extremism

In addition to killing and arresting scores of terrorists, the federal government and provincial authorities cracked down on the spread of hate speech and extremist literature online.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Information Ministry blocked 937 URLs and 10 websites belonging to proscribed organisations, said the report.

The Interior Ministry also blocked 98.3 million subscriber identity module (SIM) cards and implemented a biometric verification system for all new SIM cards.

Authorities made 2,465 arrests and closed down 70 shops accused of spreading hate speech or materials, the report said.

To prevent the re-emergence of proscribed organisations, provincial authorities identified 64, put three under surveillance and added 8,309 people to the Fourth Schedule of the ATA.

The NAP also bans the glorification of terrorists in media. The Ministry of State for Information and Broadcasting and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority are strictly implementing the ban on airing content regarding proscribed organisations and their activists, the report said.

Choking off terror financing

The federal government is focusing on the fight against terror financing as well.

The government registered 681 cases of misuse of hundi and hawala, arrested 931 suspects and recovered Rs. 885.4 million ($8.5 million). In addition, authorities registered 283 money-laundering cases, making 414 arrests, the report said.

"Countering Terrorism Finance (CTF) units are being established in the provincial Counter-Terrorism Departments (CTDs), and the CTF has been made an integral part of investigations under the ATA by the CTDs," the report said, adding that a draft bill for a future Anti-Money Laundering Act is coming.

Some 500 security personnel have joined the CTF unit in Islamabad, 1,182 in Punjab, 728 in Sindh, 1,000 in Balochistan, 2,200 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 168 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 260 in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

Measures taken under the NAP to curb sectarian terrorism showed positive results: 185 cases were registered in 2012, 127 cases in 2013, 176 cases in 2014, 79 cases in 2015 and 34 cases in 2016, according to the report.

Praise for NAP successes

"Successful implementation of the [NAP] has provided much relief to the terrorism-stricken people of the country in general and KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATA] in particular," said Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah of Peshawar, former security secretary for FATA.

Shah expressed satisfaction over the measures that law enforcement agencies are taking to implement the NAP.

"The NAP provided a comprehensive guideline for countering terrorism, and its effective implementation will bear fruits for a long time," he told Pakistan Forward.

Other observers similarly welcome the results shown by the NAP.

"The military operations ... undertaken under the NAP were essential for quelling extremism and terrorism," Musarrat Qadeem of Peshawar, executive director of the NGO PAIMAN Alumni Trust, which fights extremism in KP and FATA, told Pakistan Forward.

She called for more vigor in throttling terror financing and the misuse of seminaries.

The NAP's positive results can be seen in fewer "hard-core crimes like bombings, targeted killings and kidnappings for ransom", said Peshawar-based journalist Shamim Shahid.

He urged enforcement of "all 20 points of the NAP" and a tighter focus on terrorism financiers, not just on the terrorists.

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