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PTI chairman Imran Khan criticised the (federal) government over inability to formulate a viable and holistic anti-terrorism policy and said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could no longer pay the price of not having a counter-terrorism policy. — File photo
PTI chairman Imran Khan criticised the (federal) government over inability to formulate a viable and holistic anti-terrorism policy and said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could no longer pay the price of not having a counter-terrorism policy. — File photo

PESHAWAR: The present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has put its predecessor’s counter-terrorism strategy in the restive province on the back burner.

‘Checkmating terrorism, a counter-terrorism strategy (CTS),’ which is about how the provincial government departments could deal with terrorism sticking to their respective roles, was approved by the last provincial cabinet on May 2, 2012.

The ANP government had formulated the strategy during the last year of its term in office, so it failed to implement it.

However, the current PTI government seemingly doesn’t care two hoots about its enforcement.

According to experts, until the newly-elected cabinet overturns CTS or replaces it with a new one, it is binding on the government to implement it.

When contacted to know if his government wants to implement the strategy or scrap it, provincial information minister Shah Farman promised to get back shortly for official version.

However, he didn’t fulfil the promise.

While the discussion on formulating a national security policy and comprehensive counter-terrorism policy are underway at the federal level, the CTS approved by the last Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government almost a year ago awaits implementation.

Only the last month, according to media reports, PTI chairman Imran Khan criticised the (federal) government over inability to formulate a viable and holistic anti-terrorism policy and said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could no longer pay the price of not having a counter-terrorism policy.

He, however, failed to make a mention of the delay in the implementation of the provincial CTS by his party’s government.

Provincial chief of PTI and Speaker of the provincial assembly Asad Qaisar, too, gives the impression by news statements that the government is unaware of the anti-terrorism strategy formulated by its predecessor for the province.

The strategy could be implemented for peace in the troubled province without making any special budgetary allocations for it.

When asked if he’s any knowledge of the provincial CTS, Mr Asad Qaisar said a consultative process was underway with the federal government for the formulation of a policy against terrorism.

“We (PTI) want all parties to be on the same page,” said Mr Qaisar.

He gave the impression that he’s confused foreign policy with counter-terrorism policy.

“(Formulation) of foreign policy and anti-terrorism policy is the responsibility of the federal government and the provincial government could not do much on it,” he said.

Lately, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan would have own counter-terrorism policy, while there would be a national security policy, too.

The government while planning to take all political parties on board during the formulation of the anti-terrorism policy is also considering the option of holding peace talks with militants.

The foreword of CTS, a copy of which is seen by Dawn, states it is important to note that embarking on negotiations with militants and terrorists or not holding such negotiations did not alter the basic premise and action plan of the strategy.

“When and if such negotiations are held, the strategy would hold equally good in the pre-negotiation phase, during negotiations, and in the post negotiation phase, especially in case of failure which is more likely in the light of the past experience of agreements worked out with terrorists/militants. It is wise to be prepared for the worst case scenario.”

Under the law, in absence of any coherent policy at the national level, the anti-terrorism policy approved by the previous cabinets legally binds the provincial government to implement the approved CTS unless it rejects or amends it.

The strategy pointed out that the most important aspect of how to ensure implementation of the strategy could be summarised in three words ‘Ruthless Performance Accountability.’

According to it, during the last decade or so, terrorist outfits have been smoothly following their agenda but the government’s response has been weak or rather business as usual.

A footnote of CTS says basic contours of the strategy were shared with the federal government, civil and armed forces and intelligence agencies in May last year but no feedback was received and even, the implementation by the departments at the provincial level leaves a lot to be desired.

Despite the fact that law and order and militancy are the major issues of the province, the PTI government, which has just completed 90 days in office, has yet to come out with a clear-cut stand and strategy of its own on how to tackle terrorism.

Until now, countering terrorism has only been rhetoric.

If CTS is implemented in letter and spirit, it will be good for the terrorism-hit province in particular and the country in general.

Comments (9) Closed

Ayaz Sep 05, 2013 10:20am

The PTI stand on terrorism is very clear .... in its first 90 days rule it has already released 250 terrorists from D I Khan jail which was sold to the public as jailbreak.... Those who expect that PTI will even verbally condemn terrorists are living in fool's paradise.

mashal Sep 05, 2013 03:03pm

If we still believe that PTI govt could come with a change policy on terrorism , we are living in fool's heaven.

Zoaib Sep 05, 2013 04:50pm

A perfect example of the bias some people have towards PTI in KP. Senseless article...misinterpreting everything. Whether through this particular policy or not, PTI is doing everything and much more than ANP to maintain law and order in the province. A whole list of reforms in police, counter terror intelligence outfit etc. But whatever they do, the key to the issue lies with the federal government's policy (which is linked to foreign policy). The writer can twist and turn IK's statements here and there and other PTI leaders as well, but it won't change this fact.

Nafees Mahmood Sep 05, 2013 05:36pm

This really is a very immature and childish article. By the way, Dawn seems to have become the instrument of choice in the print media, for the propagation of anti Pakistan material. One just needs to skim through their blogs for a confirmation. GEO News and its Aman ki Asha, funded by Foreign corporations, does the job on the air. PEMRA needs to wake up!

ALK Sep 05, 2013 06:22pm

If the CTS is so wonderful then whey did the previous government not implement it. The central governemnt, military and agencies did not bother to respond show what a crep its was. The only policy ANP ever gave to the province was how to be more corrupt. Please stop preaching to us now about this absurd policy.

zarghun Sep 05, 2013 09:30pm

malik Sep 05, 2013 11:03pm

PTI has a very clear anti terrorism policy and that is 'No policy'.

Imran Sep 06, 2013 01:09am

What is on their front burner now. Chappali kababs anyone?

JustSaying Sep 07, 2013 12:08am

However, the current PTI government seemingly doesn