The Prime Minister on Saturday directed that the National Counter Terrorism Authority Pakistan (NACTA) be made fully functional with immediate effect, and that it hold its first administrative meeting on Wednesday. Let us truly take stock of the situation: The premier directed an independent body that has been constituted since 2009 to start working – a body that answers to him, is under his sole preview and one that he has failed to make operational in his year at the helm. NACTA is composed of the biggest players from all the intelligence, military and civilian departments, and was supposed to formulate an effective counter-terrorism policy as well as co-ordinate the various arms of this operation. Even such an exigent and heavyweight body could not escape the petty power struggles that plague this government, and the funding, appointments, ambit and powers are all in a flux. Any way you cut it, the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the premier. This was not some obscure committee far from the Prime Minister’s immediate gaze, it was a high profile body, under his sole charge tackling the single greatest threat to Pakistan’s existence at the moment at a time when the military was in a state of war in FATA. It is a shame that it takes the death of 141 people to jolt him out of his lethargy.

Redemption may be around the corner for the ill-fated body. The prevailing national consensus will see it made functional, and with a National Action Plan (NAP) already in place, half of NACTA’s work has been done for it. Now it needs to effectively carry out the myriad of goals in it. For NACTA to do a halfway decent job, it needs legislative authority behind it to move executive branches to action; such as directing PEMRA to block Jihadi and sectarian content instead of being a misguided moral police, or directing the Islamabad police to carry out the arrest warrant of Maulana Abdul Aziz and other general measures to make sure any nepotistic or apologist department does its job. Co-ordination between various intelligence agencies and the law enforcement could have saved many lives; the NACTA must take up the issue. NACTA has been given a sacred duty, and the eyes of the whole nation are on it now.