ISLAMABAD: The government is facing internal pressure for taking a series of aggressive steps for ratcheting up the pace of implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) on countering-terrorism and extremism.

Almost 13 months after NAP was initiated in the aftermath of Army Public School tragedy of Dec 2014, the government continues to be pilloried for not doing enough to execute the 20-point National Action Plan.

At a meeting held at the Prime Minister House for reviewing the progress of National Action Plan, PM Nawaz Sharif emphasised that “successful implementation of NAP is an imperative for everyone”.

He said: “Terrorism will be eliminated from every nook and corner of the country.”

The army, whose top brass had at a corps commanders’ conference in November last year publicly expressed concern over the poor progress in the fight against extremism and terrorism, reportedly cautioned that there was no more time to lose.

A general perception in the military is that half a dozen elements of NAP which had been entrusted to the army and Operation Zarb-i-Azb were progressing well, whereas areas assigned to civilians were lagging behind, particularly madressah reforms, terror financing, banned organisations and hate speech/extremist propaganda.

A press statement from the Prime Minister Office said: “The meeting app­reciated the successes achieved in the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb.” Par­ticipants of the meeting praised sacrifices of law-enforcement personnel, but there was no word about how NAP was faring.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif had announced last week that he would leave after completing his tenure in office and would not seek or accept an extension in service. This raised concerns in some quarters about the future of the fight against extremism and terrorism.

The recent closure of schools in several parts of the country (on the pretext of ‘cold wave’) in the aftermath of the Bacha Khan University attack which left 21 students, teachers and staff members dead reflected poorly on the government’s effort.

But, the prime minister said that he was undeterred and that “those who are threatening our kids from going to schools will be defeated”.

The meeting took a review of the operation in Karachi.

During a visit to Karachi last week, Gen Sharif vowed “to go to any length for a secure and terror-free Karachi to ensure a peaceful and fearless routine daily life for the people of the city”.

The military was reassured at the meeting of the government’s full and continued support in the operation it was leading in Karachi.

The meeting also discussed the progress made by the special team constituted for investigating leads provided by India about the Pathankot attack.

The participants were informed that while the team had carried out the job assigned to it, India was not cooperating with regard to further information which had been sought to take the investigations forward.

A source said no final decision had been taken with regard to the team’s travel to India for collecting evidence. The prime minister would himself decide about the investigator’s visit, he added.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, ISI DG Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, National Security Advisor retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua and other senior civil and military officials.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2016

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