QUETTA: The National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism has not been fully implemented due to various reasons, including lack of civilian ownership of the plan for its execution, confusion on the definition of terrorism and absence of a national narrative on terrorism.

However, the successful Karachi operation and merger of the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were important achievements under the plan.

This was the crux of deliberations at a ceremony organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Pakistan and Pak Institute for Peace Studies here on Saturday to launch their report on “Assessing the National Action Plan to counter terrorism and defining terrorism in Pakistan”.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, MPA Nasarullah Zerey, Director of Pakistan Study Centre, Karachi University, Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Shahzada Zulfiqar, Balochistan Bar Council Executive Committee Chairman Rahib Buledi and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Vice Chairperson Habib Tahir.

Speakers call for dialogue on issues confronting Balochistan

The speakers stressed the need to execute the NAP in letter and sprite with its ownership by the government to eliminate terrorism from our country.

They said that 14 committees were formed to work on the NAP but only two of them became functional.

They noted that reconciliation for normalising the situation through dialogue with the “disgruntled people living abroad” was an important part of the plan. The dialogue was initiated through the provincial leadership of Balochistan but they were not empowered to take any decision.

The Peaceful Balochistan Programme was also launched and militants started surrendering before the authorities but the process did not continue, they recalled.

The speakers underlined the need for initiating dialogue on issues confronting Balochistan and the launching of a NAP- like plan at the provincial level.

Mr Buledi said that through implementation of the NAP not only governance could be improved but terrorism and its root causes could also be eliminated.

He said that Balochistan had also remained in the grip of terrorism in the garb of insurgency in which about 2,000 people had lost their lives. It was the responsibility of the state to provide protection and peaceful atmosphere to the people, he added.

He said that in Makran a large number of people, including women and children, were killed by banned organisations but no political party had issued even a statement in this regard as they ignored such incidents.

He said that the insurgency in Balochistan was based on nationalism, tribalism, religion and language and the efforts to maintain local status quo Mr Buledi said that deprivation of rights, poverty, backwardness and ignoring the issues were the reason of unrest in Balochistan.

He said that the leaders who complained about backwardness and deprivations of Balochistan exploited the people and ruled their areas.

He said that those in power had never devised a comprehensive policy on the real issues of Balochistan due to which the province had reached this stage.

He said that all stakeholders would have to play their role to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. “When the status quo is broken, then the problems will be solved.”

The minister said that dialogue must be held with those who were ready to talk and wanted to secure rights of the people of the province and solve their basic problems, but not with those who instead of improving the economic and social conditions of the people had perpetuated archaic tribal system.

He said that the federal government had announced a development package for the troubled areas of southern Balochistan and spent Rs200 billion on the uplift programme.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2021

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