A week after the inquiry report into the Quetta hospital attack recommended that Nacta be "activated", the National Counter-Terrorism Authority's (Nacta) chief said Wednesday night said the body does not have an operational role.

"Nacta is not a homeland security department and it cannot eliminate terrorism all at once. There is no operational role of Nacta," Ihsan Ghani said on DawnNews show NewsEye, when told there is an impression that Nacta is not delivering.

Regarding the Aug 8 attack on Quetta's Civil Hospital, the Nacta national coordinator said the body had made it clear before the incident that it had only generic information that some terrorist activity could take place in the province and was unaware of any particular clue.

"As the onus of implementation on the Act goes with provinces, we pass on information to the provincial authorities and take feedback," he said.

He said that Nacta did not conduct an inquiry into the Quetta incident as doing so was not in its jurisdiction, according to the provisions of the Act the authority was established under.

"We have been focusing a lot on terror financing, we have been making policies and establishing institutions to cut it off. We have also done regulation of explosives," he said.

Speaking about the authority's functions, he said, "We have done a lot to end terrorism. We placed hate mongers on the fourth schedule list, we tackle their sources of funding and deprived them of financial assistance," he claimed.

Ghani said, "When terrorists attacked us with full intensity, like any other country we were not prepared for it. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) had assumed their roles, there was no training (in counter-terrorism), no coordination and no mindset (to counter terrorism)."

Policies to eliminate terrorism

Ghani also said the body has been working on 12 policies to eliminate extremism and terrorism from the country.

"During the last year and half, we have been working on at least 12 policies in connection with curbing terrorism and extremism," he said.

He added that one of these policies is the National Counter-Extremism Policy which would be ready by January 2017.


Summary:

  • Nacta is working on national narrative
  • Nacta is working on National Counter-Extremism Policy
  • Nacta is working on criminal justice system
  • Nacta cut off terror financing
  • Nacta regulated explosives in the country
  • Nacta did not conduct inquiry of the Quetta incident as it was not supposed to do
  • Nisar, Janjua, PM House played key role in making Nacta functional

He said the authority had worked on the policy for 10 months and taken input from a range of people.

Ghani was of the view that the prevailing criminal justice system is another big problem for society.

"If we had a functional criminal justice system, almost 70 per cent of issues surrounding the National Action Plan (NAP) would have gone," he observed.

He said that for last six to seven months, the authority had been working in coordination with provinces on a package that caters to all four pillars of the criminal justice system including investigation, prosecution, judiciary and prisons.

"The package is in its final stages," he said.

"We are also working on a national narrative. I won't say that it will take decades to bear fruit, but it will take time," he told the host.

He added that Nacta is going to take input from various segments of society in this regard because "I, along with two officers in my office, cannot devise a national narrative. I need input from research scholars, academia, media and others."

The body's focus will be on implementation, he vowed.

In a veiled reference to a convention in Islamabad where members of banned organisations had held gatherings and delivered public speeches, he said that a person who was not a fourth scheduler had sought permission from concerned authority for holding the convention.

He was granted the permission subject to several conditions, including that there would be no hate speech and no one from banned outfits would address the convention.

Later, when it was found that these conditions had been violated, a case was registered against the person and in future, they will not be granted any such permission, he said.