ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has called for effective coordination between the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) and the provinces for identifying terrorist organisations and their operatives.

Presiding over a meeting held on Wednesday to review the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), he stressed the need for keeping an eye on possible re-emergence of banned outfits under different names.

Officials of Nacta, the Federal Investigation Agency, capital police, the National Crisis Management Cell, intelligence agencies and provincial home departments attended the meeting.

A participant of the meeting said that Chaudhry Nisar appeared serious about implementation of the NAP and told the officials that he did not want routine presentations.

Rather, he said, they should realise their responsibility and come up with progress reports. For example, the minister said, it was not sufficient to say that the hotline against terrorism was “functioning well”.

He stressed that he wanted details of the calls received, segregated data of genuine and fake calls and the action taken on them.

The minister also ordered formulation of a standardised mechanism to ensure that the provinces took necessary steps based on actionable intelligence received on the hotline 1717 and communicated to them.

Likewise, he said, steps taken to implement the ban on hate speech could only be judged if the details of loudspeakers confiscated were also provided.

Interior minister stresses the need to keep an eye on re-emergence of banned outfits under different names

“Officials who are only interested in routine work and ‘paper-pushing’ would not be required,” Chaudhry Nisar said in clear terms.

The meeting discussed the resources available to Nacta and requirements that needed to be met to make the authority more effective. It also discussed setting up and functioning of military courts.

The interior minister praised his ministry for hammering out a workable roadmap for implementation of NAP throughout the country, in coordination with the provinces.

Ordering Nacta to maintain close and effective coordination with the provinces and other stakeholders, he observed that Nacta had a massive task ahead of it. But the task is of prime importance and the entire nation is looking at it with hope. “It is of vital importance that we rise to the occasion and meet these expectations,” he remarked.

He said the issue of unregistered Afghan refugees would be taken up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Afghan government to resolve it.

He expressed satisfaction that the longstanding issue of unregistered and unverified SIMs had been taken up and all old SIM cards would be re-verified within a few months.

During his remarks to the press, the interior minister defended the government’s decision to execute death row prisoners and spurned criticism of the international community over ending moratorium on death penalty, indicating that executions would continue.

“We will do whatever is in the best interests of Pakistan. The US, India and Japan also have [capital punishment], why do they not express their reservations there?” he asked.

But he gave the assurance that no innocent man will be hanged. “It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that no-one guilty of terrorism is spared, but at the same time, it also has to prevent the execution of innocent individuals.”

The minister urged citizens to play their role in combating terror by reporting suspected terrorists and suspicious activities on the 7171 hotline. At the same time, he cautioned that any misuse of the hotline to settle personal scores or prank calls could result in punitive action.

Chaudhry Nisar made it clear that the country was in a state of war and under the NAP, intelligence-based operations were being carried out unhindered.

Published in Dawn January 8th , 2014

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