NACTA remains toothless despite govt’s anti-terror pledges


This June marks six months of the Peshawar Army Public School attack in which more than 145 people, mostly schoolchildren, lost their lives to a deadly Taliban attack. After the Peshawar school was attacked, the government came up with a National Action Plan which aimed to eliminate militancy yet little progress has been made six months down the road.

Soon after the Peshawar carnage, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted a moratorium on capital punishment and launched a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) with the consensus of all the political parties.

According to data available with Pakistan Today, 49,000 suspects have been arrested in 46,185 joint operations of intelligence agencies in the aftermath of dreadful Peshawar attack across the country. Moreover, 155 people have been hanged so far in the country after the government lifted moratorium on capital punishment in December 2014.

Additionally, Rs 2.1 billion have been confiscated from various accounts believed to be sent for terror funding. Similarly, 230 people have been arrested and 182 cases have been filed against people involved in financing terror the data revealed. 1,135 people who had been involved in sectarian rifts are placed on government’s watch list.

According to the data available, 6,500 commandos have been trained by military in Punjab while Balochistan and Sindh are in the process of training 1,000 commandos and 760 commandos each, respectively.

Similarly, a figure collected from National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) states that 260,000 arms licenses in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 10, 000 licenses in Punjab and 3,000 in Sindh will either be cancelled or reviewed.

Loopholes in National Action Plan:

The National Action Plan completely failed to implement its point number four regarding the strengthening and activation of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

“NACTA which had to play an important in carrying out operations against the militants effectively had failed to move beyond papers,” a senior official at the Interior Ministry told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity.

He added that it seems that NACTA has become a football being tossed between the prime minister and the interior minister. “NACTA has been hibernating since its formation and it remains a victim of turf wars between intelligence agencies,” the official said.

The legal status of NACTA had been the topic of the debate since its inception because according to federal government’s rules of business, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior which keep a check on the paramilitary forces, he added. “NACTA was supposed to coordinate between various ministries and intelligence agencies,” he said.

“We are clueless that whether it is an executive body which falls under the prime minister or it is an autonomous authority with extraordinary summoning powers,” he added.

According to sources, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan wants NACTA to be under his control though ideally NACTA should be placed under the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

A senior official at NACTA told Pakistan Today that Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has been reluctant in sharing information with the authority. According to him, this situation arose because the intelligence agency likes to guard its sources and information.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik said that it is extremely important to strengthen and activate NACTA by providing funds and setting it up on a war-footing if the government wants to successfully implement the National Action Plan.

Senator Malik added that he is writing to Prime Minister Sharif to release funds for NACTA.

No Funds allocated for NACTA in Budget:

The federal government has completely ignored NACTA in the budget for 2015-16 and no funds were allocated for its effective implementation.

The documents available with Pakistan Today show that in the federal budget for this year, the government has not allocated any money for NACTA in the PSDP.

Political and Defence Analyst, Wajahat Masood told Pakistan Today that it is unfortunate that the nation has declared war on terrorism but is not paying sufficient attention and budgetary allocation to the central national body meant to combat terrorism.

“The neglect may be understandable on the part of the political leadership facing stringent fiscal constraints but the military establishment too appears to be smug about it,” said Masood.

“Are we allowed to draw the inference that the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism is just another tool to comply with institutional power play?” he said.

An official of the Interior Ministry said that the Interior Ministry estimated Rs 32 billion outlay for implementation of First National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and re-re-activation of NACTA. However, the federal budget for 2014-15 reduced allocations from Rs 95 million to Rs 92 million out of which Rs 63 million were allocated for administrative and salary-related expenses.

“Instead of increasing the funds of NACTA for the fiscal year 2015-16, the federal government has not allocated any funds for the re-activation of NACTA and this is very discouraging,” he maintained.


  1. NACTA is impotent. All it can do is to call for cancellation of arms licenses of law abiding citizens

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