ISLAMABAD - Opposition parties yesterday rebuked the government for allegedly taking terrorism lightly and allowing terrorists to dictate terms due to non-implementation of the National Action Plan.

Speakers at a seminar organised by the ‘Shaheed Bhutto Foundation’ claimed, the government had failed to implement the NAP against terrorism terming it as a ‘no action plan.’.

The seminar was arranged to push the government to implement the NAP in its true spirit after the terror attacks on Army Public School Peshawar and Bacha Khan University Charsada.

The NAP was planned and announced by the government to crackdown on terrorism and to supplement the ongoing anti-terrorist offensive titled Operation “Zarb-e-Azb”, in North-Western Pakistan.

The government’s alleged negligence to implement the NAP came under severe criticism at the seminar as the speakers called for an honest stock taking and setting up of a parliamentary committee to oversee the implementation.

In her address, Senator Sherry Rehman, Vice President Pakistan People’s Party, claimed the government had made it a Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) programme instead of a national plan to counter terrorism.

“Nations do not fight wars like our government. There should be national declaration to encourage people. It should not be an N-League plan but a national plan,” Senator Rehman said ostensibly referring to the alleged victimisation of the PPP and targeting of its leaders in Sindh.

“Be it terror financing, NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) or banned organizations, the government is failing on all fronts. This is not the government’s plan, no government alone can make this plan. It has to be a National Action Plan. The army’s role is to regain territory, NAP is the government’s job,” she added.

The PPP leader – who was the chief guest at the seminar - said Pakistan was fighting one of the largest inland wars in the world, but “wars cannot be won by singing anthems, it is won by creating a national narrative and that is the responsibility of the government.”

“The country is fighting a war with an enemy, the government is spending its energies fighting with other political parties. A lot of serious work needs to be done on the National Action Plan,” she said.

Senator Rehman said this was not the democracy for which Benazir Bhutto gave her life. “We are accused of being a friendly opposition, but we are asking the tough questions. During the Swat operation, the military leadership was not willing to conduct an operation. Approval of the operation was given in the closed door session of both houses after the Marriott (hotel) bombing,” she added.

“The governments of western countries could not survive if their Prime Minister or President did not address the public after a national tragedy,” she remarked.

Awami National Party leader Afrasiab Khattak talked about the background of the genesis of terrorism in the country.

He said former military ruler Ziaul Haq gifted terrorism to the country. “After the APC, the National Action Plan was announced, however, the need is not for plans but action,” he maintained.

He questioned the action taken against certain terrorist organizations, adding as long as the policy of supporting Talibanisation in Afghanistan continued, “terrorism will continue in Pakistan.”

PPP’s Senator Farhatullah Baber said state’s performance during the last one year was nothing but abysmal failure in critical areas of NAP.

He claimed the state had miserably failed in disallowing proscribed extremist organizations, in taking action against Punjab based militant organizations, in making NACTA functional and in executing only jet black terrorists as envisaged under the NAP.

About the resurrection of banned outfits under different names, he said in reply to a senate question asked on December 18 the interior ministry made public a list of 61 proscribed organizations.

“It was unbelievable that the reply also stated that the government had no idea as to how many banned organizations were still working under old nomenclature or different names and that the provinces will be asked for information,” he added.

Senator Baber said it was a manifestation of policy of duplicity or sheer incompetence or criminal neglect that after one year of NAP “we do not have such basic information about banned outfits.”

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged early this month that if any Pakistan based individuals or groups were found involved in the Pathankot airbase attack they will be brought to book.

“Within less than two weeks the head of a militant organization publicly accepted responsibility but no action has been taken. The inaction has only dramatized the reality that dealing with non-state actors is not the mandate of the elected Prime Minster,” he said.

The PPP leader said that implementation of NAP was entrusted to NACTA but the interior ministry says it was not totally responsible for NAP implementation - referring to the statement of interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the National Assembly.

Senator Baber said the way forward was to set up a parliamentary committee on national security to oversee the implementation of NAP.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi said the NAP was not a government’s action plan rather a plan adopted by all political parties after the APS attack in Peshawar.

“After almost a year, not only is the national action plan not being discussed, rather the government is not willing to talk about the performance indicators,” he said.

Rizvi said the cancer plaguing Pakistan was not of terrorism but of extremism. “If the country truly wants to uproot the menace of terrorism, then simply treating the symptoms will not do. The root cause will have to be addressed,” he said.

“We are here to help implement the NAP in its letter and spirit with the government. As NAP is a consented document and our future lies in the implementation of this document, the government needs to show seriousness and bring it to the floor of the parliament. We will help the government in easing the impediments in NAP implementation,” he added.