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LAHORE: A policy and research forum has urged the civil government to lead fight against militancy with an effective counter-terrorism strategy.

The report “No Time to Lose: How the Civil Government must Lead during Conflict” has been prepared by the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR), says a press release.

It states the civil government must respond by reducing the suffering of IDPs, prevent or minimise effects of any blowback by militants, resolve the ambiguity about who is the enemy and build popular support in favour of the military.

“While the country is clearly at war, the government is not prepared with an adequate response to any of the above challenges. In this situation, we could possibly lose in the cities what we would likely win on the battlefields,” says the report.

A team of senior experts including researchers, former cabinet members and former officials with extensive experience of enforcement, information gathering, and policymaking contributed to the report.

Since this problem became serious in 2008, says the report, the governments have been ambivalent about a counter-terrorism strategy. In fact, until lately, there was no plan in the country. A comprehensive policy announced earlier this year awaits implementation, it says.

The report recommends the government must take emergent measures. “Federal and provincial governments and intelligence organisations must meet for threat assessment. They may designate focal organisations at each level of government and assign tasks to them including plans for prevention and response. Approved plans may be funded adequately,” it says.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2014

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