ISLAMABAD - The fortune of much trumpeted Joint Intelligence Directorate, to be established under National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), still hangs in the balance as the federal government has yet to release funds for this purpose, The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

After the announcement of National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism in December last year, the federal government had reiterated its resolve for the formation of proposed joint directorate to improve coordination among all intelligence agencies, civil and military, to end terrorism in the country. But it apparently looks that process of establishment of directorate would take more time, months if not years, as Nacta is facing shortage of funds to accomplish the project.

The establishment of such directorate has become vital at a time when terrorists are continuing to attack soft targets like worship places and schools after the launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb and a coordinated intelligence is the need of the hour to thwart plans of terrorists. All 32 intelligence agencies of the country would work under the proposed Joint Intelligence Directorate for a complete coordination for anti-terrorism operations in the country.

Nacta has recently written to the federal government for the release of funds for establishment of intelligence directorate that will be headed by Nacta National Coordinator (NC). “We are working on fast track to form Joint Intelligence Directorate and for this purpose a summary has been sent to the PM seeking release of 460 million rupees at initial stage,” a senior Natca officer said on the condition of anonymity. He said that the process will take four to five months or even more and the intelligence agencies of the country are being taken on board in this regard. “We will get services of officials of intelligence agencies to work in the directorate, besides hiring services of highly qualified retired officers with relevant experience.” The officer avoided the question that whether any of the intelligence agencies have refused to sit in the directorate.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar after holding charge of his office had announced in 2013 that a joint intelligence directorate comprising officials from all the intelligence agencies of the country would be established under Nacta to improve coordination among state agencies as part of government efforts to end terrorism in the country. The National Internal Security Policy (NISP) announced by the interior ministry in February last year, also endorsed the idea but it is yet to be materialised, as the finance ministry did not release funds for the project at that time.

After December 16 terrorism attack on Army Public School in Peshawar, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced 20 point National Action Plan on Counter Terrorism that also contained restructuring and strengthening of Nacta. However, the top anti-terrorism organisation of the country is still a toothless body having no proper staff ad funds. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while briefing National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior Affairs, the other day, said that he had proposed to the government for enhancing salary packages and other perks of officials working in Nacta as no one was ready to work in the authority. Senior police officers normally prefer field posting, instead of such office duties like in Nacta.