ISLAMABAD - The seriousness of the government to implement National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism could be gauged from the fact that it has not allocated any amount in the annual budget for the re-organisation of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), an important point of 20-point NAP.

While going through the documents of annual budget 2015-16, it reveals that the government has neither allocated any amount in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2015-16 nor any separate amount had been allocated in the budget for the re-organization of NACTA, the key counter terrorism body at the federal level.

Though the federal government has allocated a total Rs8299.524 million for the Interior Division in PSDP 2015-16 and out of the total allocation Rs1,000 million has been allocated for raising six additional wings of Civil Armed Forces (CAFs) for the security of Chinese. Another amount of Rs2500 million has also been allocated in PSDP for the raising of 22 additional wings of Civil Armed Forces (CAFs). Similarly, Rs100 million had been allocated for Safe City Project besides allocations have been made for other projects of the interior. But no allocation has been made for NACTA and budget documents are silent on it.

A senior officer at the Ministry of Interior confirmed that no allocation has been made for the NACTA. But at the same time, he informed that the ministry was separately negotiating with the Ministry of Finance for an allocation for the authority and an important meeting of all stakeholders had been summoned during the next week. “NACTA strengthen is being dealt with separately and a meeting has been fixed next week with all stakeholders in this connection,” the officer said.

The Interior Ministry, under whose administrative control NACTA is working, has been seeking funding for the re-organiSation of NACTA during the present budgetary year that will end on June 30 and had also at least moved two summaries for the release of funds but to no avail. Thus NACTA, the focal department at the federal government to coordinate all anti-terrorism operation in the country, could not be strengthened and re-organised without allocation of huge funding.

I cannot exactly tell at the moment that which amount the ministry had demanded from the Ministry of Finance for the strengthening of NACTA but would be able to give some feed back after the meeting of all stakeholders next week, the senior officer said, adding the fresh figure of amount might be different as demanded in the past. Due to the non-availability of funds from the government, the announcement of the incumbent Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to form a Joint Intelligence Directorate under NACTA where all intelligence agencies of the country would work and share intelligence with one another could not be materialised. The minister had announced this soon after holding charge of his office in 2013. At one point, the non-provision of funds by the federal government for NACTA had also become a cause of soured relations between PM Nawaz Sharif and the interior minister, however now both enjoy good relations again. The strengthening of NACTA was at point number four of the government’s 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism that was announced after December 16 incident of terrorists attack on school children in Peshawar. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had himself had unveiled the plan. However, the government totally ignored this important point of NAP and never implemented in letter and spirit.

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NACTA was created in 2009 and former senior police officer and ex-director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Tariq Pervez had conceived its idea to coordinate all counter-terrorism operations in the country and to harmonize all intelligence-based information in this regard. “It (NACTA) would work as a think tank and would conduct research, propose measures and to chalk out a national counter terrorism action plan after consulting all stakeholders,” former interior minister Rehman Malik had said when the authority was established during last PPP regime.