ISLAMABAD: Parliament should take the lead in the fight against extremism by debating the issue and making relevant laws.

“Also, the government may devise well-defined, realistic and achievable plans/objectives with effective monitoring and evaluation systems against individual NAP goals/clauses.”

These recommendations were given by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in a security report for the year 2021.

The report said there was a need to civilianise the National Action Plan (NAP) and counter-terrorism regime giving a leading role to the parliament.

Think-tank says PM may use Nacta’s platform to regularly review progress on NAP provisions

The think-tank also suggested monitoring and evaluation using clearly defined and concrete performance indicators, noting that otherwise NAP would continue to be judged subjectively on the basis of varying perceptions.

It called for strengthening the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) and said the prime minister may take ownership of NAP and use the Nacta platform to regularly review the status of and progress on NAP provisions.

The Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination be activated to work along with Nacta for better coordination and results.

Pakistan needs to introduce critical shifts in foreign policy. Peace with the immediate neighbours, including India, will not only help in decreasing non-traditional security threat but also improve governance and socioeconomic development.

“The government needs to reform the criminal justice system with much greater urgency and focus as this particular NAP clause has remained a non-starter so far.

“The federal and provincial governments need to develop and run de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme, led by civilians that also engages or partner with civil society organisations.”

Paigham-i-Pakistan can be a significant ideological response to the extremist ideologies; the message be disseminated widely and transformed into national narrative.

There is also a need to heal and rehabilitate the citizens of ex-Fata,” it added.

Meanwhile, the security report said developments in Afghanistan continued to influence Pakistan’s militant landscape and security in 2021 with a 42 per cent surge in terrorist attacks compared to the previous year.

A total of 207 reported attacks in the year claimed 335 lives - an increase of 52pc from those killed in such attacks in 2020 - and injured another 555 people.

The 335 people killed in terrorist attacks included 177 security forces personnel, 126 civilians and 32 militants. The report said despite their repeated promises to not allow anyone to use the Afghan soil against Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban have not yet seriously considered to act against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The PIPS report noted that violent and non-violent shades of religious extremism presented a critical challenge to Pakistan’s efforts to countering terrorism and achieving security and social harmony in the country.

In 2021, multiple events and developments indicated that a persisting challenge of religious extremism and intolerance confronted the country, including the reported upsurge in terrorist violence by violent extremist groups, growing incidents of faith-based mob violence, episodes of protests by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers and their clashes with security forces.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2022

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