ISLAMABAD: The newly appointed chairman of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Hamid Ali Khan, assumed the charge of his office on Monday amid a controversy whether the organisation will work under direct watch of the prime minister or the interior ministry.

After assuming the charge, Mr Khan called on Interior Secretary Shahid Khan who assured him of support in counter-terrorism efforts during his three-year term, according to a spokesman for the ministry.

Mr Khan could not be contacted for comments despite efforts.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said a couple of months ago that Nacta would be revived soon and it would be controlled directly by his ministry, and not by the prime minister.

But the opposition decided to block the move as PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said: “We will oppose the decision of the minister in parliament.”

Not only the PPP but other opposition parties have also decided to raise their voice against the move in parliament.

The Nacta bill was approved by the National Assembly during the tenure of the PPP-led government in 2013 but the authority is yet to become fully functional.

The opposition wants the authority to work directly under the prime minister, and not the interior ministry, because the Nacta Act says: “The authority shall be an independent body answerable directly to the prime minister”.

In a recent meeting, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence also supported the idea of Nacta working under the direct supervision of the prime minister.

Published in Dawn, November 11th , 2014

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