ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday laid out an elaborate progress report on the National Action Plan (NAP), saying that terrorism in the country had been brought down by 70 per cent, adding that no militant network could now operate in Pakistan.
Nisar said the civil-military relationship in the country had never been better, and credited the civil-military cooperation for the achievement of the feat. He went on to say that no one should discuss civil-military relationship in public, “nor should anyone give out reckless opinions on the subject.”
He also came out strong against those slamming the federal government for inaction on the NAP's 20-point agenda.
After a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, senior cabinet ministers on Monday talked to media personnel, apprising them of what the government had achieved in the nine months since the NAP was created in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre.
Nisar said he presented a progress report to the prime minister during the cabinet meeting, which included the following:
- In the nine months since NAP implementation, the government has verified 140 millions SIMS. Today no SIM is used in heinous crimes.
- The government has carried out 211 executions and will move on with the capital punishment.
- Armed militias or groups today cannot use or exhibit arms; while sectarian groups are being targeted.
- Speedy trial courts have been established in the form of military courts; nine operational military courts have decided 28 cases, while 46 are under trial. Nisar said only jet black terrorists will be taken to military courts and no political pressure will be accepted.
- Legal amendments have been drafted and sent to the NA after seven recommendations by provinces.
- Karachi operation: 60-70% improvement in crime has been recorded.
- Proscribed organisations: For the first time ever, a clear and uniform list of banned organisations has been prepared.
- Balochistan: Ferrari camps are being dismantled regularly, while a substantive dialogue process has begun (Nisar said details could not be given) and a major breakthrough is expected as the civil-miltary leadership implements a dual strategy – operations and dialogue.
- Fighting/ cracking down religious, sectarian terrorist groups is now a top priority, with special focus on targeting those who glorify terrorists.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, who is seen largely as the government's point man in coordinating and implementing its counter-terrorism security policy, said the PML-N government had turned things around since coming into power, emphasising the role of cooperation with the army in achieving this end.
Presenting figures to support his assertion, Nisar said militancy had been on an upsurge since 2006 but peaked after the army's 2009 operations in Swat and South Waziristan, with 2010 being the worst year in terms of terrorism, when 2,061 terrorist attacks were recorded.
But in 2014, this number had gone down to 1,640, while so far this year only 695 incidents have been recorded, of which there were no casualties in 305 terror attacks, he said.
“We focused on intelligence-based operations (IBO), in the past nine months we have conducted more than 5,900 IBOs,” said Nisar.
“Since the start of operation Zarb-i-Azb, we have conducted 11,000 IBOs, with police leading the actions while being supported by intelligence services and the Pakistan Army when needed,” added Nisar.
Nisar also said that under the integrated security mechanism, the army is now deployed in all provinces of Pakistan and forms the third line of defence.
“We have also established a 1,000 strong counter-terrorism force in each province, while the army remains deployed as a quick-reaction force (QRF),” elaborated Nisar, while giving details of the changes in the internal security apparatus.
“The army played its part in 2009, but the government did not do its job of coordination and providing support to the army,” said Nisar. He emphasised that for 13 years, Pakistan had been fighting a war without a clear strategy.
“We were fighting this war with our ears and eyes closed,” he said.
“We pursued the dialogue process for eight months, and because of that we were able to build a unanimous consensus on launching the military operation,” said Nisar while referring to the earlier dialogue process which collapsed following the attack on Karachi's airport in June 2014.
It was also mentioned during the press conference that the army's 111 Brigade would train Islamabad police in disaster response in the coming days on the interior ministry's request.
Areas that need further attention
Chaudhry Nisar, during the press conference, accepted that certain areas in the NAP agenda had displayed slow progress till now, and the government needs to expedite efforts in this regard.
“It is a very challenging task to curb terror funding as Pakistan is an unplanned economy, progress has been slow in this regard, but we are determined to control it,” stated Nisar.
He also said not all seminaries were a breeding grounds for terrorism, adding that most madressahs in the country were patriotic and had been a target themselves.
Referring to Afghan refugees, Nisar said, “We are developing a mechanism so they can be repatriated back to their country.”
Nawaz heads cabinet meeting
Earlier, addressing the cabinet meeting in Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the Karachi Operation — launched with the consensus of all political parties — have been progressing successfully.
He said the government has decided to take tough action against private militias.
The premier said that MQM would benefit from the Karachi Operation as it is aimed at targeting criminal elements. “Reservations of any political party on the Karachi operation would be addressed,” he added.
Nawaz said “situation in Karachi is fast improving and the city will soon become peaceful”.
He made it clear that the government was committed to wipe out terrorists from the country at all costs. “A large number of culprits involved in terror and criminal activities have been arrested and they will be taken to task.”
The prime minister said that cases of terrorists are being sent to military courts for speedy trial.