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251 arrested for hate speech, NAP meeting informed

Updated January 14, 2015

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting reviewing prorgress on the implementation of National Action Plan at the PM House. -INP Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting reviewing prorgress on the implementation of National Action Plan at the PM House. -INP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a National Action Plan (NAP) meeting on Wednesday where he was informed that 251 people have been arrested across the country for propagating hate speech.

It was revealed that FIRs had been registered against 341 people involved in hate speech, out of which 251 had been formally arrested while 41 shops disseminating hate material had been shut down.

Those in attendance were further informed that action has been taken against nearly 1,100 people on the misuse of loudspeakers.

In his briefing, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reported that 180 miscreants had been picked up so far from various parts of Islamabad, while 48 of them had been formally arrested.

"Similarly in Punjab 14,000 suspects have been picked up out of whom 780 formally arrested and are under investigation," Nisar said.

The meeting was told that madrassas are also being closely monitored so that the spread of radical ideology could be checked.

They were also informed that 95 proscribed organisations have been identified in Punjab which are still engaged in spreading terrorism and extremism.

The PM asked the FBR to ensure that funding to the proscribed organisations was immediately stopped.

The Ministry of Information and Technology was also directed to take steps for blocking websites and social media platforms being used by terrorist organisations.

It was also decided that a state-of-the-art rapid response force would be set up to meet the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism. This properly equipped force would be trained on modern lines and given a better pay package.

The PM also called a meeting of chief ministers next week in Islamabad to comprehensively review progress made on implementation of the NAP. All the provincial governments were directed to take proactive measures for ensuring speedy and effective implementation of the plan.

The NAP had been formulated in the wake of the Peshawar school attack to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism. The 20-point plan was agreed upon by all political parties.

NAP committees

Umbrella committee: An umbrella committee, headed by the PM himself, will supervise the overall implementation of the plan and include the federal ministers for interior, finance, planning, information, defence, Safron, the KP governor and the PM’s adviser on foreign affairs.

Militias: The interior minister heads this committee, formed to deal with the issue of eliminating armed militias from the country. This committee has DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, DG IB Aftab Sultan, DG MO Maj Gen Aamer Riaz, all provincial home secretaries including Fata, GB and AJK; as well as the Nacta national coordinator and the interior secretary.

Hate speech: Chaudhry Nisar will also steer a second committee that will make recommendations on how to counter hate speech and extremist material. This committee includes the ministers for religious affairs, planning, information as well as the MD PTV, DG ISI, DG IB, all provincial home and Auqaf department secretaries, the Nacta coordinator and interior secretary.

Proscribed organisations: The committee tasked with stopping the re-emergence of proscribed organisations will also be led by the interior minister and will have the DG ISI, DG IB, all home secretaries and interior secretary as members.

Counter terrorism: To ensure the deployment of a dedicated counter-terrorism force by May 31, 2015, the interior minister will also lead efforts alongside the ministers for finance and defence, the DG MO, the secretaries of finance, interior and the NACTA coordinator.

Religious persecution: Another sub-committee was tasked report within three days on steps against religious persecution. Headed by the interior minister, the committee consists of the minister and secretary for religious affairs, the interior secretary, all provincial police chiefs and the IGs of GB, AJK and ICT, as well as all home and Auqaf department secretaries and the Nacta coordinator.

Madressahs: A committee on the registration and regulation of madressahs, also led by the interior minister, will hold meetings with various organisations that oversee the affairs of over 30,000 and will have consist of the minister and secretary for religious affairs, State Minister for Education Balighur Rehman, all home and Auqaf department secretaries.

Terror on the internet: The interior minister will also supervise discussion to recommend steps for dismantling terrorists’ communication networks and suggest tangible measures against the abuse of internet and social media for terrorism. This is the only committee whose composition was not mentioned in the official press release.

Karachi: The committee tasked with dealing with the Karachi law and order situation includes the interior minister. He will be supported by Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, the Rangers DG and other senior officials.

Punjab: To check militancy in some parts of Punjab, Mr Khan will formulate strategy with input from the DG ISI, DG IB, home secretary and provincial police chiefs.

Sectarianism: The committee tasked with presenting recommendations on the subject dealing with sectarian terrorism, within a week, will be headed by the interior minister and consist of the DG IB, all provincial police officers, home secretaries and heads of counter terrorism departments as well as the interior secretary and Nacta coordinator.

Afghan refugees: The interior minister will make policy guidelines to deal with Afghan refugees with the help of the KP governor, Safron minister, Nadra chairman and other senior officials.

Terror financing: Under the supervision of finance minister, a committee has tasked to submit within three days recommendations on choking terrorists’ financial networks and terrorist organizations. This committee includes State Governor Bank Ashraf Mehmood Wathra, the DG ISI, interior secretary, FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa, FIA DG Akbar Hoti and finance secretary.

Media curbs: Another committee, chaired by Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and including the ministers for interior and planning and development, Irfan Siddiqui, Barrister Zafarullah Khan and the information secretary, will furnish recommendations on banning the glorification of terrorism and terrorist organisations through print and electronic media.

FATA reforms & IDPs’ return: Sardar Mehtab Khan has been given the convenership of the committee to brainstorm and present recommendations on administrative and development reforms in FATA with an immediate focus on return of IDPs, within a week. The ministers of finance, planning and development and Safron, economic affairs secretary, Corps Commander 11 Corps Peshawar and FATA chief secretary will also be part of the committee.

Justice system reforms: The information minister has been given a second committee, which will give its input on how to reform the criminal justice system and strengthen counter-terrorism departments. This committee features the interior secretary, provincial representatives, ISI and IB heads as well as the law secretary.