LAHORE: Twenty-point National Action Plan lacked the civilian and military ownership to curb extremism in the province as well as due to lack of inter-provincial coordination NAP implementation is going at snail’s pace and makes the National Counter terrorism Authority virtually ineffective.   

This was stated by speakers in a workshop organized by  PILDAT held a on the 20-point National Action Plan for Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Home Affairs at a local hotel yesterday.

Speaking to the session, Chairperson Standing Committee on Home Affairs Makdum Syed Masood Alam stated that while a number laws relating to counter-terrorism measures had been passed through the efforts of the committee, committee did not have the authority to call its own meetings and hold the government departments to account which severely limited its ability to undertake oversight on NAP. He said there is no extremist content is present in educational syllabus in Punjab.

Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami pointed out that across the world it was parliamentary committees who are responsible for oversight and review of executive action. He stated that media coverage of their meetings could have a positive impact and enhance confidence in elective representatives.

He said it is a matter of concern that now ruling PML-N workers are also going missing. “It is a worrisome like situation in Punjab and it needs to be addressed,” Shami said.  

PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, stated that periodic progress reports based on factual data should be issued by provincial and federal governments and parliamentary committees should take responsibility for oversight in this matter.

The National Action Plan serves as the landmark consensus blue print for combating terrorism and violent extremism in Pakistan.

“The purpose of this initiative is to highlight the need for the Parliament and provincial assemblies especially Punjab Assembly to take an active role in periodically reviewing the progress of NAP, and holding the government and all relevant institutions accountable,” he said.  

Rauf Tahir, columnist said NAP has become ’joke’ in recently held NA-120 by-election in which two ‘Jihadi’ parties organizations ran campaign without changing their narrative. He said NAP should be taken serious but authorities concerned are not showing the concern on it.

Former Interior Secretary of Pakistan, Tasneem Noorani said military and civilian ownership of NAP is seeing nowhere. “If authorities concerned will ask and peruse on the progress work on NAP, the implementing officers will not pay attention to it,” Noorani said.   

Punjab Assembly Parliamentary secretary Home Rana Muhammad Afzal, said that Pakistan had paid a heavy price in the War on Terror, but its achievements had not been recognized.

PML-N MPA Chaudary Laal Hussain said that parliamentarians are unable to perform their legislative and oversight duties as well because they are indulged to deal with day to day issues in their constituencies. He stated that empowering local bodies will be very beneficial in overcoming this hurdle.

Senior Secretary Punjab Assembly Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar said that lack of authority for the standing committees to hold meetings on their ownwas a major hurdle.

The Public Forum was addressed by members of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, including  Makdum Syed Muhammad Masood Alam , MPA-PMLN, Chairperson, Standing Committee on Home Affairs, PML-N MPAs Laal Hussain,  Major (Retd)  Moin Nawaz Warraich,  Rana Muhammad Afzal Parliamentary secretary Home, MPA. The forum was also addressed by Editor in Chief Daily Pakistan Mujeeb ur Rahman Shami,  and Former Federal Secretary for Interior Tasneem Noorani, and President PILDAT Ahmed Bilal Mehboob.