ISLAMABAD -  Unveiling priorities of his new office for the remaining 10 months of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Tuesday admitted that the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) tasked to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) could not play its role effectively.

The remarks of Ahsan Iqbal in his maiden press conference after taking oath as interior minister questioned the performance of his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Though the minister said that Interior Ministry would continue the policies of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan yet he uncovered a number of new priorities set for the ministry, while giving a veiled reference that those were missing in the policies pursued by his predecessor.

The policy of the government is zero tolerance for crime but peaceful democratic activities would be respected, Iqbal said.

He said that law and order was the prime responsibility of the provinces and the interior ministry would improve the coordination among provinces in this regard besides monitoring the whole situation.

Responding to a question, the interior minister also said that it was the mandate of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to register new political parties and hoped that the commission would properly look into the application of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), an organisation under the watch list of the ministry, to get registered a new political party.

About US President Donald Trump’s criticism of Pakistan in his first formal address to the nation as commander-in-chief, the minister said that Pakistan had suffered more due to terrorism than any other country.

“Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate terrorism is not for the US but also for its own sake, for the future generations,” Iqbal said.

He said that peace and development were inter-related.

Iqbal further said that Pakistan’s enemies wanted to damage it at the economic front.

“We need internal stability as this would strengthen our position at the foreign policy level,” he said.

The minister also asked the political parties to foresee the bigger threats facing the country.

“The time is not about wining battle but winning a bigger war,” he advised.

Replying to a question regarding the policy of “the good and bad Taliban” allegedly followed by Pakistan, Iqbal said that there was no issue of good or bad Taliban but the issue was of Pakistan’s fight for the supremacy of constitution and democracy.

Giving details of the priorities he set after assuming his new office, the minister said that the implementation of the NAP would be the number one priority of his ministry and for this purpose, a meeting of the provincial chief ministers for Wednesday (today) had been called to make the implementation process broader.

“The coordination for the implementation of the NAP needs to be improved but the institution—Nacta — established for this purpose could not play its role effectively so far,” he said.

Iqbal said that he had held his first meeting in the Nacta office so that the coordination between security and intelligence institutions could also be improved.

The second priority of my ministry, the interior minister said, would be the formation of counter narrative on extremism as the on-going operations against terrorists were only punitive treatment of the problem.

The youth could be lured towards extremism through the social media and we have to stop spreading such views among the youth.

He said that he would soon be inviting religious leaders to form an effective policy.

Iqbal said that immigration staff at all airports had been instructed to behave with the passengers in a pleasant way and queues should be followed for immigration clearance by all.

The fourth priority of the ministry is to expand the network of offices of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and passports, he said.

Iqbal said that the authority had been asked to improve its capabilities.

The Nadra has been asked to help in making online the offices of all the departments working under the ministry.

Similarly, the online service of various departments including the passport office would be improved to avoid queues.

The minister said that similarly the ICT Police had been given targets and in the first stage, seven model police stations would be established by March next year.

“We will introduce community and smart policing system in the federal capital that will be a role model for provinces,” Iqbal said.

The police have been directed to form peace committees at the local level to enforce community policing.

Well educated and female police officials would be given priority for the posts of moharrars and at service centres, Iqbal said.

The system of traffic would be improved. The residents of the capital would be given one month’s time to install original number plates on their vehicles and after that, action would be taken, the minister said.  Similarly, action would be taken for not wearing helmets and speeding.

The minister said that director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been asked to eradicate corruption within the agency and point out the “black sheep”.

We have decided to re-activate civil defence department. And the ICT Administration has been directed to complete the computerisation of land record project within six months that was earlier facing slack, Iqbal said.

The departments of education and health working under the ICT would be converted into professional authorities, he said.

The minister said that civil armed forces (CAFs), having 200,000 strength, working under the administrative control of the ministry would be modernised and the CAF Force Act would be introduced to abolish different laws for different CAFs.