National Action Plan's 'zero tolerance' approach yielding results

By Javed Mahmood


Pakistani soldiers patrol outside the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium ahead of the Pakistan Super League cricket match in Lahore March 19. Security improvements resulting from the NAP have allowed Pakistanis to take part in everyday cultural events, say observers. [Arif Ali/AFP]

ISLAMABAD -- The National Action Plan (NAP), launched in January 2015, is continuing to pave the road to peace in Pakistan, according to a report by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

The report highlights the achievements of Pakistan's security agencies and the government in crushing militancy and reviving peace in the country.

Cracking down on terror financing

From January 2015 to March 2018, Pakistani authorities froze 4,962 financial accounts linked to banned militant outfits -- representing a total of Rs. 94 billion ($817 million), according to Asad Ullah Khan, the ISSI research fellow who wrote the report, which was published June 14.

Authorities registered 919 cases of illegal hawala, which led to 1,209 arrests and the seizure of Rs. 1.5 billion ($13 million). In addition, 426 cases of money laundering were registered, leading to 574 arrests.


Pakistani security forces discovered a massive arms and explosives cache during intelligence-based operations in North and South Waziristan, Inter Services Public Relations reported June 28. [Inter Services Public Relations]

"Pakistan suffered more than $120 billion [Rs. 14 trillion] worth of losses in war against terrorism, and the [NAP] has put an end to this financial bleeding," said Shujaat Mubarak, an economist and dean of the business studies department at Muhammad Ali Jinnah University in Karachi.

"The crackdown on money laundering should further be intensified, while borders and airport management should be further tightened to minimise infiltration by militants," he told Pakistan Forward.

"Capacity building of security personnel involved in counter-terrorism has been essential, while information sharing and co-ordination between intelligence agencies and security organisations need to be further improved," he said.

'Zero tolerance' delivering results

"The intelligence-based operations and combing operations of security agencies in different parts of the country not only minimised the risk of terrorism but also set back militant networks seriously," said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, president of the Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust Forum in Islamabad and Pakistan Economy Watch.

The number of terror-related casualties has sharply dropped from 5,496 in 2014 to 1,260 in 2017, he said.

From January 2018 to June 10, only 254 terror-related fatalities have been reported, including 79 civilians, 87 security personnel and 88 militants, he told Pakistan Forward, citing data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

"It would not be wrong to say that the zero tolerance approach adopted under the National Action Plan has wiped out the terrorists' networks in the country and blocked their funding, while the notorious leaders of the banned outfits [were forced to sneak] into Afghanistan to save their lives," Mughal said.

"Today Pakistan has almost won the war against terrorism," he said. "That is evident from peace in the country and millions of civilians peacefully celebrating their religious and cultural festivals without any fear of militancy," he said.

"The National Action Plan has delivered much in eliminating terrorism, and the post-NAP success of the security forces and the government is commendable," said Abdullah Khan, managing director of the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies.

The findings of the ISSI report about the NAP are encouraging and highly appreciated, he told Pakistan Forward.

"No one has previously conducted an objective study of the progress of the enforcement of the NAP, while the previous government also failed to share the NAP's achievements properly with the public and the media," he said.

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