Issues In Implementation Of National Action Plan

Issues In Implementation Of National Action Plan

Glossary of Terms Used

  • APS            Army Public School
  • FATA         Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  • FBR            Federal Board of Revenue
  • IDPs           Internally displaced persons
  • INGO         International Non-Governmental Organization
  • JID             Joint Intelligence Directorate
  • LEAs          Law Enforcement Agencies
  • MoI            Ministry of Interior
  • NACTA      National Counter-Terrorism Authority
  • NADRA     National Database and Registration Authority
  • NAP           National Action Plan
  • NGO          Non-Governmental Organization
  • NTFIC       National Terrorist Financing Investigation Cell
  • PEMRA    Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority
  • PoPA         Protection of Pakistan Act 2014
  • SOPs         Standard Operating Procedures 


The gruesome attack on Army Public School on 16 December, 2014 has altogether altered the government’s response to terrorism. An All-Parties Conference was convened by the Prime Minister including all political parties and stakeholders in order to generate consensus to fight terrorism. This ultimately resulted in the formulation of 20 points of the National Action Plan.

National Action Plan: 20 Points[1]

1 Implementation of death sentence to those convicted in cases of terrorism. The moratorium on death penalty that had been in place since 2008 was lifted for terror related cases. 414 executions.
2 Special trial courts under the supervision of Army. The duration of these courts would be two years. 21st Amendment to the Constitution and the Pakistan Army Amendment Bill to temporarily allow military tribunals. 190 cases in 11 Military Courts 28 cases have been disposed off. Special Trial Courts not yet started.
3 Militant outfits and armed gangs will not be allowed to operate in the country. Visibility of armed militia and display of weapons curtailed. Terrorists killed 1810, arrested 5611.
4 NACTA, the anti-terrorism institution will be strengthened. JID – core group recruitment started. Officer requisitioned, case with Ministry of Defence. Office space – agreement for permanent premises with FD. Temporary NPB/NTCBudget (2016-17) Demand 1.86 BReleased 109.42 M. Lump provision 1.75 B (should be released immediately).
5 Strict action against the literature, newspapers and magazines promoting hatred, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance Hate Speech /MaterialCases Registered: 1345Persons Arrested: 2440Shops sealed: 70Misuse of Loud SpeakerCases registered 14431Persons arrested 14858Equipment Confiscated 3435
6 Choking financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations FERA/ Hawala/ Hundi cases 498; Arrests: 692; Recovery 804.839 MAnti money laundering cases 230; Arrests 341Suspicious transactions reports: STR’s received from FMU 116 converted to cases 32, Under process 75  NTFIC has been set up to jointly operated by FIA, SBP, FBR and intelligence agencies.CTF units being established in all provincial CTD’sCTF to be made integral part of provincial investigationsDraft bill regarding amendments in AMLA 2010.
7 Ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organizations Categorization of Militant outfits has been done by NACTA. As 43 violent against the state, 12 as non violent but anti state and 7 as armed but not anti state.4th Schedule total activists 8307Movement restriction 2052
8 Establishing and deploying a dedicated counter-terrorism force Unit               Sanctioned        PresentICT                   1000                500Punjab              1500                1182Sindh                1000                  728Balochistan       1000                1000KP                     2200                2200GB                        –                      168AJK                    500                   260
9 Taking effective steps against religious persecution Proposals being sought from different sources for policy makers. Data collection in progress, to be verified and then put up for further action.
10 Registration and regulation of Madrassas ICT and Punjab completed 100% mapping on agreed parametersMapping exercise on goingSindh 80%KPK 75%Balochistan 60%FATA 85%Suspecte Madaris closed: 2325 Punjab 2, Sindh 2309, KPK 13, Balochistan 1Unregistered Sindh 72Foreign Funded 190 (Pun 147, Sindh 06, KPK 07, Balochistan 30)
11 Ban on glorification of terrorists and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media Strict implementation of ban on media of activists of proscribed organizationsAny violation is instantly reported to concerned quarters and action taken.Visible improvement noticed.
11 Ban on glorification of terrorists and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media Strict implementation through PEMRA
12 Administrative and development reforms in FATA with immediate focus on repatriation of IDPs Committee constituted under Mr. Sartaj Aziz has submitted its recommendations to  PM
13 Communication network of terrorists will be dismantled completely Mobile SIMS have been biometrically verified and 98.3 mil. SIMS blocked.Loop holes being closed.
14 Measures against abuse of internet and social media for terrorism Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 in NA.937 URLs and 10 websites of proscribed organizations have been blocked by MoIT.
15 Zero tolerance for militancy in Punjab Hardcore elements identified 1132Schedule IV 405Firebrand speakers 78Facilitators 649
16 Ongoing operation in Karachi will be taken to its logical end Registered significant decline in terrorism, crime and improvement in law & order i.e.69% decrease in target killing,50% in murders,80% in terrorism and30% in robberiesWeapons recoverd 16304Arrested 69179Terrorists  890Proclaimed Offenders 676Absconders 10426

Kidnappers      124

Extortionists    545

Murders      1834

17 Balochistan government to be fully empowered for political reconciliation with complete ownership by all stakeholders Improved security in the province Surrender / reconciliation and rehabilitation of ferraris in progress
18 Dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists 7923 People added in Fourth Schedule. Crack down on misuse of loudspeakersDecrease in cases in 2015 -79 & 2016 – 21
19 Formulation of a comprehensive policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees, beginning with registration of all refugees Date of return for Registered Afghan Refugees was December 31,2016. While for undocumented Afghan Refugees was November 15 this year.Either to obtain Afghan passport and travel documents or must opt for repatriation
20 Revamping and reforming the criminal justice system 26th May 2016 Meeting of Chief Secretaries, IGP’s Home Secretaries & IG Prisons held for chalking future course of action with timelines for Revamping Criminal Justice System19th July 2016 meeting with focal persons held

Source: National Counter Terrorism Authority. NAP Implementation Status as on 26 August, 2016.

Issues in Implementation of NAP

In January 2015, apex committees were formed to expedite the implementation of the National Action Plan, 15 committees and sub-committees were set up. No formal notification, TORs and chain of command was defined for these apex committees[2]. It is largely an informal set up.
The ground reality: serious civil-military trust deficit. The ground reality continues to be that our generals do not trust our political leaders and vice versa. The generals are adamant that they have come out of their barracks to fight terror. The political leadership fears that the generals have come out of their barracks to capture their political domains.

Criminalization of politics is an important factor and results in non implementation of NAP. Almost all the political parties and religious parties have active militant wings which are involved in organized crime. Similarly, politicization of Crime has also taken place. Therefore, the political parties have reservations and they demand “Go Slow on NAP”. This  demand is primarily of mid level political activists since they feel NAP can be misused for political victimization. Behavior of Political appointees in LEA’s is also a major impediment as their loyalties are more towards their political masters then pay masters[3].

Also the precise definition has to be made to differentiate between heinous crime and terrorism. Usually the sections of terrorism are applied in heinous crime cases at the sweet will of investigating officers and political bosses for cheap popularity. There are delays in decision making as no one wants to shoulder the responsibility. Simultaneous implementation of 20 points is required whereas it is only applied in piece meal. Special Courts under PPA 2014 have not yet started functioning. There is a general confusion among provinces on establishment of Special Courts and they are confused with Military Courts.

There is no central database of information and intelligence maintained at any level. All agencies and LEAs are working independent of each other and only such information is shared which doesn’t seem useful to the concerned LEA. There is overlapping of functions and jurisdictions and lack of sharing of information among LEAs. Also the society isn’t stepping up and taking active part in eradicating terrorism by actively providing information of suspicious persons and activities to LEA’s.

NACTA is still more of a dormant organization and its role has been limited to issuing periodic press statements. NACTA lacks proper infrastructure. For the financial year 2016-17, budget demanded was 1.86 billions whereas only 109.42 millions (2016-17) has been allocated[4]. NACTA is lying dormant as the government failed to call even a single meeting of NACTA all of last year. Action initiated against authors, publishers and retailers circulating hate material while no Formal Screening system of publishing exists. It is pertinent to mention here that no one should be permitted to express hatred towards someone based on ethnicity, religion, sect, nationality, race or color.  However, to our utter disappointment hate speech and Inciting Literature laws are almost non existent while the ones in place need effective implemention. Text Book boards are also required to act more actively in reviewing the contents of syllabus so that no hate material is added in curriculum.

National Terrorists Financing Investigation Cell (NTFIC) has been set up recently to be jointly operated by FIA, SBP, FBR and intelligence agencies. Hawala and Hundi system exists despite all out efforts by FIA and will continue to exist till a mechanism is devised to monitor this system in an effective way. Regulation of NGO’s and International NGO’s to ascertain their funding sources is also need of the time.

Article 36 of the Constitution[5], though a part of the Principles of Policy,guarantees the Rights and interests of Minorities. This article needs to be followed in Letter & Spirit to ensure safety of the rights of minorities.

Regulation and Registration system of madrassas is missing at governmental level. There are 190 foreign-funded seminaries in the country, of which 147 are in Punjab, 30 in Baluchistan, 7 in KPK and 6 in Sindh[6]. Check on their source of income is to be done and also for the purposes that these funds are utilized.

The Punjab government feels provincial LEA’s can handle the NAP targets well and there is no need for employing Civil Armed Forces like rangers in Punjab. The fear for employment of rangers is largely based on the fact that they might take up operations independently in Karachi style thereby damaging the political interests of the Punjab govt.

Whereas, Karachi is very hard to police, both area and population wise. The Karachi LEAs including the Rangers are short on personnel and resources. But Karachi operation is being actively pursued by Rangers with support of Army[7].

PEMRA, in this regard, also needs to issue a permanent code of conduct requiring the media personnel and channels not to glorify terrorists. Keeping a watch on the internet and social media vis a vis terrorism and terrorist activity is a difficult job. There is really no way to police the internet. Role of Citizens in monitoring the internet and highlighting the suspicious websites and activities needs to be formalized and strengthened.

Dialogue with exiled Baloch Leaders had been initiated. But it is still not clear what is the mandate of the dialogue team and who will head these dialogues from Government side. Also, will the disarmament of rebels will be the initial agenda point or not? Nexus between Baloch movement and sectarianism is also quite evident and they keep on providing technical and operational assistance to each other and both need immediate attention of the ones walking in the corridors of power. It goes without saying that sectarianism has become a social ill due to various sects expounding their own values and demeaning others.

The status of registered Afghan refugees, those possessing Proof of Registration (PoR) cards issued by the NADRA is precarious at the moment. Afghan refugees who are undocumented are a cause for concern.

Reforms in criminal courts system have been delayed while they are necessary to strengthen the anti-terrorism institutions and ensure a speedy and fair trial to ensure justice.

In pursuance of decision in the preliminary meeting of Implementation Committee for National Action Plan held on 22nd August 2016, the National Security Adviser/Convener of the Committee  was pleased to constitute the Sub-Committee with the following composition:-

  1. Attorney General for Pakistan                   Convener/Chairman
  2. Secretary, M/o Interior                              Member
  3. Secretary, Law & Justice                            Member
  4. All Home Secretaries of Provinces           Members
  5. All Law Secretaries of Provinces              Members
  6. All Prosecutors General of Provinces      Members
  7. Secretary, Attorney General’s Office       Member/Secretary

The Committee will thoroughly consider the impediments in implementation and execution of the following points of National Action Plan and will suggest viable proposals for presentation before the Implementation Committee for removing the bottle-necks;

NAP-1                        Execution of Convicted Terrorists

NAP-2                        Special Trial Courts

NAP-20                       Revamping of Criminal Justice System

The Committee may co-opt any other relevant person/authority as part of the Committee and its proceedings.


Visible progress is only on 4 points of NAP which largely relate to LEAs and are actively pursued. Whereas the progress on remaining points is still lagging behind. NACTA is still a dormant organization and its role as the main focal organization fighting terrorism needs to be activated and enhanced. Lack of trust and coordination among LEAs and intelligence agencies like FIA, FBR, State Bank is also one of the major reasons in improper implementation of 20 points of NAP. Lack of political will and trust deficit between civil political and military machinery is also one of the major concerns hindering progress on NAP. No formal mechanism to monitor progress on NAP exists. Only recently, a committee has been formed at PM Secretariat under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen Nasir Janjua, National Security Advisor to monitor the progress on NAP on a regular basis[8].

Overlapping of functions and jurisdictions of various law enforcement agencies is also a problem. There is a need to clearly define the jurisdictions and roles of all LEAs. Establishment of Military courts is only an adhoc arrangement. The failure of political consensus in enhancement of term of Military courts is a visibe failure on Part of political leadership as well the ineffectiveness of the Judicial system of the Country. A huge sum of Public money is spent on the salaries, administration of the judicial system and the perks and protocol of serving and retired judges of subordinate and superior judiciary and their output is well estimated by the need to establish military courts. Special Trial Courts have not been established yet and without their establishment no permanent system will be in place to tackle this problem. Criminal justice system reforms have not been taken up so far. In the absence of a speedy and fair trial system the gains will not last long. Rehabilitation of terrorism convicts back to society no mechanism defined.

Also clarity in negotiations with exiled Baloch leaders is required to attain a permanent solution of Baluchistan problem.


Following measures are recommended;

  1. JID of NACTA to be made operational immediately for intelligence sharing.
  2. A combined database to share information on terrorists, this will allow for a syncing of operations across the nation. The list of proscribed organizations also needs to be on this database.
  3. Active involvement of Public for intelligence gathering by inculcating sense of national responsibility.
  4. Clerics can be engaged to provide people with the right direction, mosques used to be a place of guidance.
  5. Volunteers from the citizens can be trained by police for neighborhood watches, NCC training and emergency training can be imparted. Children in schools can also be given training.
  6. The Ministry of Information and Technology can be engaged to work with the people to monitor the internet and social media.
  7. PEMRA needs to update its directives regarding what the media can and cannot relay and put it up on its website for better understanding.
  8. Rehabilitation of IDPs at the earliest involving voluntary community participation both in cash as well as kind will ease the burden on government and also inspire a brotherhood feeling among nation.
  9. A comprehensive madrassa registration system under Ministry of Education should be setup assisted by MOI and Intelligence agencies.
  10. Capacity building of Police and other institutions of Criminal Justice system that they can handle terrorism single handedly.
  11. Time frame for finalization of FATA reforms and dialogue with exiled Baloch leaders for final outcome is essential.
  12. Last but not the least timeline for implementation of all the 20 points of NAP should be clearly defined.



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National Counter Terrorism Authority. NAP Implementation Status 26 August 2016.

[2] Dr. Farrukh Saleem, NAP’s 20 points, Today’s paper, May 31,2015.

[3] National Action Plan loop holes, The Nation, Khalid Iqbal, 15 September 2015


[5] Source:

[6] Source:

[7] Source:

[8] Daily Jang, Rawalpindi,  16 August 2016


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any organization with which he might be associated.

Syed Junaid Arshad

Author: Syed Junaid Arshad

The writer is a police officer with more than sixteen years of experience working in law enforcement and is currently posted as AIG Crimes, Gilgit Baltistan. Alumni of JCLEC and a resource person on Anti Human Trafficking for UNODC. He is a Certified Master Trainer on Money Laundering and international terrorism and drafting of legal frame work organized by UNODC. He authored a booklet on community and rural policy during his tenure as SP Saddar Gujranwala and standard operating procedures for security of VVIPs while posted at PM House. He also formulated a plan to revamp the Elite Police Force Punjab and drafted SOPs for the District Elite Group (DEG) and Special Elite Group (SEG). A public complaint registration business procedure was also introduced by him as DPO at Mandi Bahudin district which had significantly reduced public complaints. He can be reached at [email protected].