National Action Plan – a comprehensive counter terrorism 20 point agenda – marked the beginning of a new and most effective effort to combat the militancy in Pakistan. The Plan came in view following the APS Peshawar attack in December 2014. The multidimensional plan proposed counter terrorism measures that were civil, intelligence-related and combative in nature. In the contemporary state of affairs, terrorism has been contained in Pakistan with the mutual efforts of civil-military leadership but the efficacy of counter terrorism measures adopted in the previous two years is worth evaluating.
In a televised address to the nation on 25 December 2014, Prime Minister announced 20-point National Action Plan and said, “A line has been drawn. On one side are coward terrorists and on the other side stands the whole nation”.
Counter Terrorism Measures under National Action Plan
The 20-points Plan carries several counter terrorism measures. Some of them include;
- Establishment of Military Courts for the trial of terrorists
- Reviving the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA)
- Cutting the financial resources of terrorists
- Regularizing Madrassahs
- Bringing Karachi Operation to a logical conclusion
Among the other points, pledges to root out all type of violence and extremism were made.
Efficacy of Counter Terrorism Measures Adopted in the wake of NAP
The efficacy of each of the important counter terrorism measures adopted can be discussed as following;
A. Military Operations
The military operations conducted in the FATA region of Pakistan have proved to be effective in combating terrorists. The evidence to this fact lies in declined number of terrorists’ attacks in Pakistan. Cities and civilians are more secure than they were a year ago. Military operations have sought international admiration as well. But the problem is that, military operation cannot be a long term solution.
B. Establishment of Military Courts
After bringing 21st amendment in the Constitution, Government established military courts to try terrorists. The courts have dealt with several terrorists by bringing them to gallows. This measure is not being seen as an effective one. Rarely any deterrence is apparent in terrorists as a result of this step.
C. Karachi Operation
Karachi operation led by Rangers is reaching a positive conclusion. Target killing has been contained. The operation proves successful amid the minor rifts between the provincial government of Sindh and the Rangers over misuse of power on the part of the latter.
D. Terror Financing
Government rightly pledged to cut terror financing coming from every side. An apparent picture of this was seen when government regularized even the collection of animal-skin on Eid, in order to prevent this money to wrong hands.
E. Reviving NACTA
National Counter Terrorism Authority – aimed at curbing terrorism – has not been revived despite making this task a goal in National Action Plan.
F. Madrassah Regulations
Madrassahs previously have remained breeding grounds of terrorists. Government is registering these religious seminaries across the country. Loopholes exist in shape of not regularizing them in rural areas of Sindh and Baluchistan.
In a compact analysis, most of the counter terrorism measures taken under the NAP have produced mixed results. The success of military operations is however speaking loud. More efforts on the part of civilian government to take the charge at the end of military operations is required.