Plugging the gaps in NAP

NSA General Nasir Khan Janhua. PHOTO: AFP

NSA General Nasir Khan Janhua. PHOTO: AFP

There was never any doubt that taken as a whole the National Action Plan (NAP) formulated in the aftermath of the massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014 really was distilled common sense. It may have been put together in haste and elements of it could have benefited from a little more considered thought, but it brought together in a single basket the core issues and challenges that face the state if it is to confront and ultimately defeat terrorism. Broadly speaking, there were two arms of implementation — the civil and the military and the success of the whole was dependent on both arms acting in concert. They did not.

In common parlance, the military delivered the goods, doing what was sketched out for it in NAP. The civilian government was some way behind from the outset. There is no denying the complexity of the task the government had set itself or the difficulties that were immediately self-evident, and in short order, political will drained away in the face of uncomfortable realities. Which brings us to the point at which the military is decidedly discommoded, so much so that the army chief had to speak out about non-implementation of NAP.

There has now been a series of meetings between the two sides, a ‘task force’ — a helpful indicator of future inactivity — led by Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua is to monitor implementation of the by now somewhat threadbare NAP. We wish him luck. It is perhaps encouraging to see that at last the National Counter Terrorism Authority is in the frame. Whether NAP can be brought up to speed and hard-nosed common sense trump political self-interest is very much an open question. Issues like madrassa reform and the future of the now-lapsed Protection of Pakistan Act as well as the operational ambit of the Rangers in Sindh and Punjab are thorny in the extreme. NAP really is a blueprint for a better, safer future for all. Making it reality the biggest challenge faced by any government for decades. Go to it.

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