The policy makers in Pakistan are always vigilant about matters concerning extremism. In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a decrease in the number of terrorist activities in the country. This has been made possible with the efforts of the military, which introduced consecutive operations in areas which were at that time the hubs of extremism. The federal government at the time was busy introducing new laws, which would help prevent the encroachment of extremist ideology in the population. There has been a greater realisation of the fact that the answer does not merely lie in fighting off extremists, rather it also lies in coming up with a strategy which snubs the spread of extremism in its earlier stages.

As a result, the National Action Plan (NAP) was introduced. The NAP highlights when and how individuals would be held accountable for their extremist views and whether or not the state will further accommodate the open indulgence in hate speech . The problem, however, has always been the weak implementation by the Federal government. Laws are rigorously introduced into our legislature but that does not, in any manner, ensure that the problem has been done away with. For example, NAP clearly states that those who will engage in hate speech will be penalised by the state. However, just the last year has witnessed a surge in radical political parties making their way into the mainstream setup. If we look beyond the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) rivalry, we will realise that Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), Milli Muslim League (MML) and several others have made it to the forefront. Their entire narrative is based on hate speech but the state found it very challenging to stop their activities. Same goes for the case of Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, whom the state could not investigate due to either lack of motivation or fear of the power the individual amasses.

The introduction of an App by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) again is a very well thought out initiative. The problem begins when we do not identify what precisely do we want to penalise. Who is going to outline what constitutes as hate speech so that extremist groups do not roam around freely? Who is going to discern matters of privacy of an individual online? These are pressing concerns which should be answered before the App becomes yet another playground for those looking to falsely accuse people out of personal grudges.