LAHORE: Punjab’s performance on the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) has witnessed a slight downward trend during the third quarter of 2017.
This was shared by PILDAT’s fourth quarterly monitor on the implementation of the NAP on counter-terrorism in Punjab at a public forum held in Lahore.
The forum was addressed by senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami, former Sindh governor Lt Gen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, former Punjab governor Shahid Hamid, former federal secretary for Interior Tasneem Noorani, former NACTA national coordinator Tariq Pervez and PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob.
This fourth quarterly monitor is a continuation of periodic monitoring of the implementation of NAP that PILDAT began in January 2017. Given the importance of the 20-point consensus-based NAP in countering terrorism in Pakistan, PILDAT has undertaken a citizens’ initiative to monitor the progress of implementation of the NAP based on publicly available data.
Ahmed Bilal Mehboob explained that during the third quarter of 2017, of the 15 NAP points pertaining to the performance of Punjab on its implementation, two NAP points, relating to choking of terrorist financing and ban on the glorification of terrorists through print and electronic media, have shown upward progress.
Three NAP points, which relate to ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organisations, another one which relates to the dismantling of terrorist networks, and the third one which calls for zero-tolerance for militancy in Punjab, have shown a regression in their status of implementation, he informed.
PILDAT has not given an assessment of the status of implementation of two NAP points, pertaining to implementation of death sentences of terrorism convicts and constitution of military courts, due to insufficient data. The remaining eight NAP points reflect consistent implementation levels during the third quarter of 2017, as compared to the second quarter.
Speaking at the occasion, Tariq Pervez stated that there has been very little transparency in the manner that the National Action Plan has been implemented. While many executions have taken place since the moratorium on death penalty was lifted on the pretext of fighting terrorism, very few of those executed were actually terrorists.
He stated that NACTA is the agency tasked with coordination of counter-terrorism efforts, but the government has not made NACTA a priority. He argued that the implementation of NAP points on action against religious persecution, hate literature, terrorist financing and re-emergence of proscribed organisations was less than satisfactory.
There is also little information on the criteria used to forward cases to military courts, he informed.
Tasneem Noorani opined that while PILDAT’s quarterly assessment of NAP’s implementation was rigorous, it appears that the NAP was no longer a priority for the government, highlighting implementation on NAP as unsatisfactory on all points.
Shahid Hamid stated that writ of the state had declined because of recent events in the country, which was a worrying trend. He stated that it is, in fact, NACTA and provincial governments who should be providing periodic reports on the NAP.
Mujib Shami stated the Faizabad incident proves that strict implementation of NAP also leads to a backlash and has political costs associated with it. “It is therefore imperative that all political forces come together with the government to work on this crucial issue,” he added.
Military courts are not the answer and instead there is an urgent need to close the communication gap between the executive and the judiciary for better implementation of the NAP, he stated.
Lt General (retd) Moinuddin Haider stated that many attempts at reforms had taken place in the recent years, but they usually fall through at the implementation stage, e.g. the proposed FATA reforms. He added that the focus of political debates recently has not been counter-terrorism, but Panama leaks.
Punjab Assembly Members Faiza Malik of PPP, Dr Murad Rass of PTI, Saadia Sohail Rana of PTI, Waheed Gul of PML-N and Nabila Hakim Ali of PTI were also present on the occasion.