‘Lack of NAP progress affecting Zarb-e-Azb’

A file photo of a Corps Commander Conference at the GHQ in Rawalpindi. PHOTO: ISPR

A file photo of a Corps Commander Conference at the GHQ in Rawalpindi. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Raheel Sharif warned on Friday that establishing long term peace and stability in Pakistan would remain a ‘distant dream’ unless all stakeholders deliver meaningfully on the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.

“National Action Plan is central to achievements of our objectives and its lack of progress is affecting the consolidation phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” he was quoted as saying by the military’s media wing in a candid statement that made public the military’s concerns over civilian authorities’ slow progress in executing the anti-terror strategy.

“Unless all prongs deliver meaningfully and all inadequacies are addressed, remnants of terrorism will continue to simmer and longterm peace and stability will remain a distant dream,” Gen Raheel said while chairing a high-level meeting at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the meeting at GHQ was attended by the army’s principle staff officers (PSOs), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general and the Rawalpindi corps commander. The meeting reviewed progress on NAP, a 20-point anti-terror strategy approved after the massacre at the Peshawar Army Public School in December 2014.

The meeting was seen as unprecedented as it came just days after a routine corps commanders’ conference and amid renewed debate in the country about the success of the anti-terror fight following the recent terrorist attack in Quetta. The issue also resonated in parliament when some members, including Mehmood Khan Achakzai of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, criticised the security establishment for doing little to eliminate the menace of terrorism.

The army chief, without naming names, dismissed the criticism and said:  “While there has been considerable improvement in security environment and dividends have started to reach masses, any distracting and inciting comments and theories by some quarters are unhelpful and undermining the overall national effort.”

“We have come a long way in fighting this war on terror and reversing the tide towards eliminating this scourge from our soil. The whole nation has been standing alongside its security forces,” he said in an apparent rebuke to those who questioned the role of armed forces. “Synergised national response is the prime requirement at this time to successfully conclude our efforts,” the army chief stressed.

“I salute the people of Pakistan, all security forces and intelligence agencies, for their tireless efforts and sacrifices to bring about peace and stability. The forum reaffirmed its resolve to continue to contribute towards full spectrum national security,” he concluded.

The army is upset over the lack of progress on the civilian part of NAP. A security official insisted that the military was fully implementing the role it was assigned in the NAP but the performance of civilian authorities was not satisfactory.

This is not the first time the army has made public its reservations on the non-implementation of NAP. In November last year, the army chief after chairing the corps commanders’ conference called on the government to match and complement military’s achievements.

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1161338/consolidation-phase-lack-nap-progress-affecting-zarb-e-azb/