The high level meeting between the civil and military leadership, to review the progress of the National Action Plan (NAP) has ended on a grey note. It seems that the task of rooting out terrorism will take much more than launching a military offensive against the militants in the troubled parts of the country. The list of areas where lies the true test of the efficiency of NAP is terror financing, madrassah reform, moving against proscribed organisations and hate speech, and these areas are where the state has failed to produce tangible results.

The military and civilian discord must be resolved once and for all if militancy is to be addressed. It is clear from the patchy performance of the NAP policies, that the Pakistan army is playing its role effectively by carrying out the operation Zarb-e-Azb and the Rangers operation in Karachi, but this effort will become futile if the government does not step up its efforts to control terror financing and regulate madrassah reforms. It is extremely pertinent for the government to regulate finances entering the country and improve the accountability of the flow of funds.

Resurgence of sectarianism was also noted in the meeting, keeping in view the bloody days of Ashura when at least 27 persons including 13 children were killed and 36 were injured in a suicide blast targeting a 9th Muharram in Jacobabad, while 10 Shias were killed while several others received injuries when a blast ripped through an Imambargah in Bolan a day earlier. Despite the strict security that prevailed during this sensitive time, it is clear that rooting out sectarianism is a much more daunting task than simply blocking cellphone signals and posting extra security. Part of the problem has been the long-standing support sectarian formations have received from the larger Sunni community and from state agencies, and this must be addressed immediately.

In light of the meeting the Army Chief of Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif chaired the Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi, where he underlined the need for “matching and complimenting governance initiatives” for long-term gains of internal operations and enduring peace across Pakistan. While an all out blame game is the last thing this delicate situation needs, the military leadership is discreetly sending a message to the civilian leadership to take more responsibility and address the areas of weakness in the implementation of the NAP. Policies need to be readdressed and a new action plan must call for more political will.