ISLAMABAD - Senate yesterday passed a resolution with a majority vote of opposition asking the government to provide additional Rs 2 billion funding for reactivation of NACTA in the face of government’s opposition.

Before the house passed the resolution with the majority of 13 votes of opposition against nine votes of treasury benches, the opposition lawmakers said that the government’s refusal to provide additional funding to National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) showed its lack of seriousness in fighting extremism.

The reactivation of NACTA is part of the government’s 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism that was announced after Army Public School (APS) terrorism attack in Peshawar in December 2014. Security analysts believe that NACTA is still a dormant body. Ministry of Interior in the past itself had been asking the Finance Ministry to release funds for reactivation of the authority.

The resolution moved by Senator Azam Khan Swati says, “This house recommends that the government should provide an additional amount of Rs 2 billion to NACTA to facilitate its operations and fulfil the requirements of national security.” After State Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman opposed the resolution and the issue was debated, Chairman Senate while assessing that the voice votes from both sides on the resolution were similar in tone, he put the resolution for voting.

Swati showed his surprise what he said that interior minister on one hand had been saying that the funds released for the counter terrorism authority were insufficient while the state minister was opposing the resolution.

Taking part in the discussion, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the refusal by the government to allocate additional funds to NACTA showed that it was not serious in fighting extremism. “It means the state minister is saying that there is no need to strengthen NACTA,” he said adding that the government should review the situation a year after APS attack. NACTA itself had demanded Rs 2 billion. He said that NACTA had no office building and was housed in the premises of the National Police Bureau because a single police officer was heading both institutions. “Against 33 sanctioned posts of officers, it had only five officers and against its requirement of 2 billion rupees it had been allocated only one billion,” he said. Under the law, the NACTA board of governors headed by the prime minister should meet at least once in a quarter but it had not met even once during the last one year, Babar said.

State Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman in his reply said that an amount of Rs 1.06 billion had already been released to NACTA during this financial year against its previous demand of Rs 100 million. At the moment, it needs no additional funding. “NACTA has a key role in the country’s first National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and Joint Intelligence Directorate (JID) is being established under it,” he said. NACTA is also working as directorate of NAP and its funding would be increased and it is being strengthened, he concluded. The house also passed a resolution recommending the government to immediately ban the VIP protocol in the country in order to save the people from hardships being faced by them due to that protocol.

The chair through a ruling referred a matter about revival of student unions in the educational institutional of the country to the Whole Committee of the House. Earlier, the house discussed the motion about the need for revival of students unions in the educational institutions in the country particularly in colleges and universities.

On private members’ day, Senator Babar Awan moved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to discourage appointment of ad-hoc judges in the superior judiciary. The bill was referred to the standing committee concerned.