After a decade of terrorist attacks, Pakistan is implementing a new legal framework to deal with its growing terrorism.For years, Pakistan’s leaders have lurched between tough talk on terrorism and sympathetic outreach to some militant groups. Sharif condemned a US drone strike that killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, HakimullahMehsud, days before planned talks between the group and the Pakistani government.
It is about time that the long awaited National Security Policy is going to be announced, that also in a country being hit by suicide attacks and bomb blasts on almost a daily basis since several years. Last year, there were more than 1,577 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, resulting in 2,050 deaths, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies. Another group, the South Asia Terrorism Portal, reported 3,007 civilian deaths in Pakistan last year linked to terrorism, and 2,745 through October oflast year. Still, we are thankful that a policy might have been made in almost 8 months over an issue that should have been under serious consideration for any party competing in the elections, not a matter to have been worked upon so leisurely; but the nation should not be so happy just yet, considering how the last ‘National Counter Terrorism Authority’ Bill of March 2013probably vanished into thin air by the dissolving of the last government.
Lately, the Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control ChaudhryNisar Ali Khan said Internal Security Policy will be presented before a special meeting of the cabinet. He said that the aim of the policy is to protect the people by enhancing the capacity of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies. “The policy which will be implemented in a year contains steps to protect all areas of Pakistan by using latest technology.” He said the new security policy will have three components – Secret, Strategic, and Operational.The first section will be clandestine and inaccessible to the public; the second section will concern the strategy of dealing with the Taliban and the third section will discuss a framework for national defense.
Again, if there is any hope in this new policy, it is prerequisite that the army should have been brought fully on the same page, which doesn’t seem to be the case, considering the non-agreement of both sides over the issue of talks or no-talks with TTP.
Since the establishment of a new government in Pakistan after the 2013 elections, there has been a great deal of discussion on what direction the country’s security and counter-terrorism policies will take. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, which now rules in the capital and Punjab, had made categorical promises in their election campaign of tackling the problem of militancy in the country, primarily by holding dialogue with the Pakistani Taliban. Troubled by the rising graph of violence and the threat of growing unity among terrorist groupings, Islamabad seemed to have commenced some measures to confront domestically directed terrorism. On March 8, 2013, the National Assembly unanimously passed the National Counter Terrorism Authority Bill 2013, creating an authority intended to coordinate counter terrorism and counter extremism efforts in view of the nature and magnitude of the terrorist threats; and to present strategic policy options to the government for consideration/implementation by the stakeholders after scientifically studying the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism in the historic and professional perspective. The National Counter Terrorism Authoritywas supposed to play a pivotal role in coordinating with all law enforcement agencies to take effective action against those who carry out acts of terrorism in the country. But the Bill of March 2013 has probably vanished into thin air. Will the current bill be of any help and cure to the people of Pakistan? Or will it also disappear as before? Let’s do what we have been doing always, let’s hope for the best!