NAP at play

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Finally

Finally the National Action Plan (NAP) is beginning to come into play, though still in an isolated way and none too soon. Just when sections of the press – which repeatedly questioned the government about ‘zero progress’ on NAP – had written it off, the interior minister surprised everyone by the revelation about action against some (30) seminaries. It is still not clear, though, whether they have merely been declared ‘suspect’ or indeed shut down. Details are understandably sketchy, but seemingly the action was prompted by their links, direct and indirect, to militants and their activities.

There was the growing feeling that NAP had been a letdown, especially on the matter of the madrassas. Peshawar seemed to have changed the security landscape, yet talk about controlling hate speech and indoctrination was never backed by state muscle. Sadly, immediately after Peshawar, certain clerics continued with their hate speech – even warrants were issued – yet the state chose not to move against them, setting another bad precedent. But now, finally, this forward movement on an understandably sensitive subject, not to mention signs that even the longest serving sectarian proxies have become redundant, implies that things might really be changing for the better.

The Sindh government must be credited with setting the (madrassa reform) ball in motion. It has been the most vocal, and most active, against some of the most provocative outfits. It has also taken the boldest steps – shutting down more than 70 unregistered seminaries. Hopefully this exercise will lead to more investigative breakthroughs. The more these seminaries and their funding/arming systems are studied, the more Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) will be able to preempt such designs in future. There is now a strong need to build on this initiative, and make sure NAP’s other fine points are set in motion as well. The fight against terror will take a lot more than the bombs and bullets raining down on sanctuaries in Waziristan. That is why NAP was formulated. It must now be implemented in letter and spirit.