Empower Nacta, reiterates Sherry
Islamabad, January 12, 2016: The federal government’s resistance to allocate funding to the already incapacitated National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta) not only defies all logic but the state’s national resolve to combat terrorism and militancy in the country, Vice President PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said here today.
“It is no rocket science that military operations are only the front edge of a long cycle of coordinated state responses in dismantling the software of terrorism, which includes identifying the cohorts and nurseries that embed violent extremism in their training. Without a core agency how is this possible?” asked Rehman.
At a meeting of the upper house of the parliament yesterday, the government had resisted the allocation of an additional Rs2 billion for Nacta. Despite resistance from the government, the resolution was passed by the Senate. According to the resolution, “the government should provide an additional amount of Rs2 billion to Nacta to facilitate its operations and fulfill the requirements of national security.” The resolution, however, is not binding on the government.
It is no rocket science that military operations are only the front edge of a long cycle of coordinated state responses in dismantling the software of terrorism
Rehman reinforced that Pakistan is fighting an unprecedented battle against terrorism that cannot be compromised at any level. “The threats we face are real, and the reaction of the government on the Resolution was almost unreal, given these threats. Reports of recruits to Daesh from different parts of the country, although still sporadic, should raise red alerts for the government. Either way, we do know that Daesh is practically next door in Afghanistan, black flags and butchers in tow. Instead of enhancing our vigilance we are surrendering capacity and resource opportunities to which vacuum? It is painful to see that instead of raising the security profile against these threats by committing resources to counter them, the government is seen resisting such moves,” the senator observed.
Raising concerns on the lack of progress on the National Action Plan, Rehman emphasized that the cost of inaction can be exceedingly high for Pakistan. “As the lead coordination agency, the Nacta acts as the nucleus for all counterterrorism efforts, including the implementation of the NAP. Sadly, the agency remains largely disempowered for a host of reasons,” she said.
Sadly, the agency remains largely disempowered for a host of reasons
The Nacta, formed in 2009 and given the task of supervising the implementation of the National Action Plan in the aftermath of the horrific Peshawar attacks, has been operating without adequate staff and resources. Reports indicate that out of 300 posts, only a little over 50 are filled, while there has been virtually no action on critical plans, including the combined deterrence plan and comprehensive response plans envisaged under the National Internal Security Policy (NISP). The Nacta act also requires regular meetings of the board of governors to provide critical policy guidance and vision. However, not even a single meeting has been held over the past one year. Rehman said that coordination is key in the counterterrorism effort, adding to Nacta’s centrality. “Without strong civilian leadership and equally robust interagency coordination, military operations may only amount to an incalculable loss of blood and treasure,” she stressed.
“Coordinated executive-tasking for a long, sustained campaign is needed from the highest level. Not empowering implementing agencies will only inhibit progress on a battle that is likely to be longer than many think. Clearly, Nacta cannot be ignored any longer, especially as military operations phase down and diffuse into tactical plans against militant threats outside the battlefield. The currently non-existing national security committee of parliament , instituted by the PPP, also needs to be revived, given the escalating nature of instability in the region and beyond. I don’t understand the reluctance to empower parliament” Rehman concluded.