- PM Nawaz appoints NSA Gen Nasser Janjua for NAP monitoring after interior minister fails to effectively monitor and implement anti-terror strategy
- Govt to raise 29 new wings of civil armed forces to improve border management and ensure internal security after the end of the military’s ‘kinetic operations’ in Zarb-e-Azb
In an obvious snub to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday changed the captain of his team monitoring the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) and replaced the interior minister with National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt Gen (r) Nasser Janjua.
Previously, the minister for interior was monitoring NAP; however, the senior military leadership, especially the chief of army staff (COAS) in successive meetings expressed serious concerns over the non-implementation of the plan which may have led to the change of guard.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the prime minister. The meeting was also attended by other high ranking civilian and military officials including Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, PM’s Adviser and Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatemi, National Security Adviser Lt Gen (r) Nasser Khan Janjua, Inter Services Intelligence Director-General Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Intelligence Bureau DG Aftab Sultan and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry among other senior civilian and military officials.
The move is being seen as a huge blow to Nisar who is supposed to be very close both to the military establishment as well as the Sharif brothers. However, the replacement may reflect the fact that the minister may be losing clout with the Khakis as well as the civilian leadership.
A well placed source told Pakistan Today that soon after the APS attack and the finalisation of the NAP, the federal government had formed 15 committees to implement the plan.
Out of the 15 committees, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was given charge of 11 committees. The committees included federal ministers, senior government officials and top army officials such as the director generals of the ISI and Military Operations. The military was to focus on anti-terrorism matters while their representatives were not placed on the committees tasked to deal with matters such as the persecution of religious minorities, registration of madrassas, sectarianism and media curbs.
However, the source said, the interior minister failed to get the job done as he was hardly available for meetings related to NAP.
“The minister was only interested in committees which had the presence of high-ranking military officials. He was usually absent from committees which included only civilian officials, resulting in lackluster implementation of the NAP,” the source added.
In a bid to ensure effective implementation of NAP, the premier finally ordered action against proscribed sectarian and religious outfits which were working under new names.
The decision was taken in wake of reports from the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan suggesting that the members of banned outfits were freely operating under new names and they had been noticed giving sermons in various mosques for recruiting the youth and collecting funds and were also taking out rallies which was badly affecting the social fabric.
The source said that the meeting was informed that there was no action against proscribed outfits which were working under different names. The source said that the meeting was also informed that the members of the banned outfits were working as sleeper cells of terrorist organisations which were using them to carry out attacks throughout the country.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the situation and directed the various federal and provincial agencies to make sure no banned outfit is allowed to function under different names,” the source added.
The source said that the meeting also took exception to the failure to effectively implement NAP and it was noted with concern that out of the 20 points, only ‘some progress’ had been made over the last one and a half years.
“The meeting was informed that the armed forces have completed its kinetic operations under Operation Zarb-e-Azb (ZeA) and now it is up to the civilian forces to make sure that the gains of the ZeA do not go to waste,” the source said.
Interestingly, the interior minister had recently said in a press conference that people criticizing non-implementation of NAP had not even read the document themselves.
The source also said that the meeting was informed that since the paramilitary forces were engaged in the bordering regions, there was a dire need for development of new civilian forces. The meeting, after a thorough discussion, decided to raise 29 new wings of civil armed forces to improve border-management and ensure internal security.
“It was decided that the NSA would stay in touch with the interior secretary, director general of National Counter Terrorism Authority, provincial secretaries, inspectors general of police, home secretaries and an additional secretary of the PM’s Office to ensure effective implementation of the NAP,” the source added.
The committee will also be assisted by a representative from each of the intelligence agencies while the military will be represented by the director general of Military Operations (DGMO).
The meeting also reviewed the existing mechanism to check funding of terrorists and agreed to further impose stringent controls.
Recent passage of the Cyber Crimes Bill by the parliament also came under discussion. It was decided that an implementation mechanism to deal with this law will be put in place at the earliest.