ISLAMABAD - Calling the much-hyped National Action Plan (NAP) mere eyewash, the Supreme Court on Friday once again censured the government over non-implementation of the anti-terrorism plan.

Heading a three-member bench hearing a case on registration and funding of NGOs, Justice Jawad S Khawaja called NAP a ‘big joke’ and something that just existed on paper.

Expressing his displeasure during the hearing, he remarked that not a single bit of concrete action has been taken under the so-called action plan despite the passage of six months as the acts of terrorism were going on across the country.

“It looks as if NAP was devised to deceive the masses,” the judge said to Attorney General Salman Butt, advising the government to declare it mere ‘paperwork’, if it cannot implement it. By not publishing the action plan in national language, Urdu, it seems as if the government has tried to throw dirt into people’s eyes.

Justice Khawaja also expressed his displeasure over the allocation of mere Rs160 million for the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), besides showing serious concern on the foreign funding of NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

The apex court summoned all the details of national and international funding to NGOs across Pakistan, while the attorney general tried to assure the court that the government was making efforts to properly monitor the working of NGOs and forensic audit of suspicious organisations will be conducted.

Justice Jawad remarked that NGOs were raising funds from within the country, besides the international funding. Countering terrorist funding was part of the National Action Plan but no progress has been made in the last six months since its inception. The judge further remarked there is no system to monitor NGOs’ funding. “We must look into this matter if the country is in state of war.” He said terrorists will die themselves if funding to suspicious NGOs is stopped.

The NAP was drawn to end terrorism from the country, in the aftermath of the Peshawar tragedy in which around 150 innocent people - most of them children – lost their lives. Nacta, an institution to fight terrorism, was also established for the purpose.

Originally, the matter of NGOs’ illegal activities in the country came up during a June 23 hearing of a bail application moved by Haroonur Rashid, who was booked for alleged fraud in a business transaction. During hearing, it emerged that the parties involved had invested in ‘Baraan’ - a KP-based NGO - which was registered in Peshawar but had spread its activities to Tank, Bannu and DI Khan.

Justice Jwaad remarked that with the coming of new government the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was hit the most by terrorism, were expecting better security of their lives and properties, but now it seems to be just a dream that is hard to materialise.

Justice Azmat Saeed, who is also a part of the three-member bench, said that there is a ‘consensus’ among all provincial governments to remain ‘incompetent and inefficient’. Nacta was supposed to curb terrorist funding but it did nothing in this regard, he added.

Third member of the bench, Justice Maqbool Baqir said only Rs160 million has been allocated for Nacta which is peanuts. He also asked Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt about the expenditure of Prime Minister House and a raise made recently in this regard.

The judge asked that what action is taken by the government if it comes to know that some NGO was violating its terms of reference. He also asked if the provincial governments have issued show-cause to any NGO for violation of rules and regulations. The AG told the court that forensic audit would be held for suspicious NGOs. He also said the government has been evolving a mechanism for proper monitoring of NGOs.

The court asked the federal and provincial governments to furnish complete details about NGOs involved in illegal activities and also report on measures they have taken so far in this regard, and adjourned hearing until July 22.