Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi on Wednesday said that the government would launch a renewed National Action Plan (NAP) in March 2019 to counter terrorism and target killing across the country.

The failure of the previous NAP, which has been passed for almost four years now, is notorious, especially for the weakness in its legislative and policy components. According to the original NAP, the National Counter Terrorism Authority was supposed to reviewed and made effective to devise a counter-terrorism strategy that should address short, medium and long-term goals. Regularisation and reformation of Madrassas was supposed to be implemented, and a comprehensive policy on Afghan Refugees had to be drafted. Most of these goals in the previous NAP have not been taken action on effectively, indicating that the previous government did not have the political will and resolve to act upon it.

Yet does the failure of the government to muster resolve and act upon NAP warrant the drafting of a new one? Perhaps the Minister of State does not understand the enormous sensitivity of legislation like NAP, which needs long and careful deliberation with various parties in order to be made into law. The previous NAP was passed in early 2015, when the wounds of the APS massacre were still fresh, and thus the nation was united in the initiative of passing a national security plan. There might have been large gaps in the implementation of NAP, yet there was little mistake in its process of drafting, which had the tacit approval of almost all political parties, with religious parties only having minor objections to the wordings.

It is doubtful that the government today, with so many political rivalries, will be able to inspire that kind of unity from the parliament to pass a new NAP. A national action plan requires a nation to put aside its differences and collaborate- and our country currently is more politically divided than ever.

A new NAP which intends to cover the gaps of the older one will be useful but any such initiative will not work if it glosses over the problems of the previous plan. Unless PTI is sure that it has the political acumen to unite the federal, provincial and local governments, along with other institutions for a collaborative effort, perhaps it would be easier to fix the implementation of the already existing NAP.