ISLAMABAD  -   In a bid to decide the role and functioning of the National Counter Terrorism Authority, the government’s reforms committee has submitted its proposals to the Prime Minister Office – a move that will decide fate of the country’s only counter-terrorism body at the federal level.

The Nacta reforms committee under chairmanship of Finance Minister Asad Umar in one of its recommendations has proposed to Prime Minister Imran Khan that either the authority should be made an attached department of Ministry of Interior or placed under a newly-proposed National Security Organisation, some senior officials working with Nacta informed The Nation.

In September last year, PM Imran Khan had constituted the reforms committee in a bid to ascertain the future role and functioning of the authority. The decision was taken in the first ever board of governors meeting of Nacta held under the chair of the PM. The committee was formed after the incumbent Nacta chief had claimed in the meeting that the authority’s performance was dismal since its inception in 2008.

According to some senior Nacta officials, the committee has also recommended to PM that the present National Security Division should be abolished and Nacta should be placed under the newly-proposed NSO. They said that Ministry of Interior wanted that Nacta should be under its administrative control. Prime Minister Imran Khan will make the final decision on these proposals.

The NSO is the brain child of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s federal government and Ministry of Interior had made an assessment of the need for NSO as part of the government’s first 100-day agenda delivery.

Section 3 of the Nacta Act 2013 says that the Authority shall be an independent body answerable directly to the Prime Minister having administrative and financial powers to carry out its functions.

Amir Rana, security analyst and director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank, said that government will have to amend Nacta Act to implement any of these recommendations. He said that Nacta being the only counter-terrorism body at the federal level and having the role of intelligence coordinator should directly under PM to run its functions smoothly. “And this is what the present law says,” he added.

Earlier, Nacta reforms committee in one of its meetings had discussed the role and functioning of Joint Intelligence Directorate that works under Nacta and a proposal was discussed in the meeting that it should be placed under Interior Ministry.

The JID has the role of coordinator of information from all intelligence agencies. Initially, the incumbent National Coordinator Nacta Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak, a senior police officer, had recommended to the government that JID should be disbanded because of having no need of it.

The Nacta was primarily established as a think-tank in 2008 to do research and formulate policies on counter-terrorism and counter-extremism and to play the role of a coordinator of intelligence information.

The Section 4 of Nacta Act describes functions of authority and says that the Authority shall receive and collect data or information or intelligence, and disseminate and coordinate between all stakeholders to formulate threat assessment with periodical reviews to be presented to the Federal government for making adequate and timely efforts to counter terrorism and extremism.” It says that “Authority shall coordinate and prepare comprehensive national counter terrorism and counter extremism strategies and review them on periodical basis.