ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting attended by key ministers, army chief, DG of ISI and other generals here on Wednesday to review progress on the Zarb-i-Azb operation and National Action Plan.—White Star
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting attended by key ministers, army chief, DG of ISI and other generals here on Wednesday to review progress on the Zarb-i-Azb operation and National Action Plan.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: The government reluctantly conceded on Wednesday that the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) was faltering.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over a meeting held to look into issues relating to implementation of NAP — the 21-point counter-terrorism strategy, that was put in place through a strong political consensus after the Dec 16 Peshawar school tragedy.

A statement on the meeting attended by key government ministers and Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI Director General Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar said “measures for more effective implementation” of NAP were discussed.

The meeting took place days after the army chief in a meeting with the prime minister flagged the problems in NAP implementation.

While there had been widespread public dissatisfaction with ineffective implementation of NAP, the military top brass had at the corps commanders’ conference held in April publicly expressed concerns about its lacklustre implementation with the army chief then calling for “re-energising the National Action Plan in true letter and spirit and achieving discernible results”.

Gen Raheel Sharif shared the army’s institutional view with the prime minister at the meeting and called for immediate steps to redress the situation.

A minister, while sharing the sense of the meeting, said “several weak areas were identified”.

The areas found to be requiring greater attention were foreign funding of seminaries and terrorist groups; proscribed organisations and sectarian groups; hate speech; and madressah reforms.

The working of apex committees which were formed for civil-military coordination at the provincial level for implementation of NAP was also evaluated. The Sindh government came under severe criticism for not fully cooperating.

“Sindh apex committee was found to be one of the worst performers,” a source said, adding that the prime minister agreed to take up the matter with the provincial government and the PPP leadership.

The meeting deliberated on the legal challenge to military courts. The establishment of the courts headed by military officers for two years for trying hardcore terrorists was one of the most important elements of NAP. The military courts that started functioning in February have so far sentenced six Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants. The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition challenging the setting up of the military courts and has restrained the execution of convicts.

The meeting also discussed next steps in Zarb-i-Azb Operation, the source said, but refused to divulge the steps.

The army chief, while speaking at the Command and Staff College, Quetta, on last Thursday, had hinted at impending ‘decisive action’ against militants in urban areas.

“Noteworthy achievements in the operation have created a space for a decisive surge against terrorists in urban areas and environment is getting ripe for political optimisation towards a meaningful and sustainable closure,” Gen Sharif had said.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2015

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