National Action Plan: Tangible progress

On a visit to Karachi, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif will be reviewing the overall security of Karachi today. Ever since the operation commenced in the conflict-ridden city, there has been a visible improvement in the law and order situation. Though the operation was in full swing way before the National Action Plan was drafted, there has undeniably been a surge in the intensity with which the operation has been conducted. As a matter of fact, the NAP has added another dimension to the operation in the city, which is the dismantlement of militant outfits.
Lauding the progress of the Rangers in Karachi and discussing the overall internal security situation in the country, PM Nawaz Sharif has directed the interior ministry to prepare a plan to de-weaponise society because a democratic government could not allow armed groups to operate with impunity. Furthermore, the prime minister stated that the government was determined to implement the NAP because the benefits of its success would reach every corner of the country. He also mentioned that severe action will be taken against those involved in sectarianism and disseminating hatred. Such statements were dismissed as mere rhetoric soon after the document was drafted with national consensus as the both the federal and provincial governments performance in implementing it was found wanting. There was also talk of the NAP being diluted due to a lack of political will and coordination between various departments back in March, and then a couple of months later the Sindh government was also chastised due its lackluster performance. However, now that such statements are being backed by tangible results, the security agencies and the provincial governments do deserve some sort of appreciation indeed.

Taking the example of Karachi; 1,444 incidents of terrorism took place in 2006 which rose to 1,820 in 2007, 1,575 in 2008, 1,938 in 2009, 2,061 in 2010, 1,680 in 2011, 1,316 in 2012, 1,571 in 2013 and 1,640 in 2014. But the number came down to 695 in the first nine months of 2015 and 305 of them were without any loss of life. It has to be said that the numbers in this case speak for themselves. The law and order situation in Karachi has improved a lot and major crimes have declined by 70 per cent.
Though there are a plethora of problems that need to be tackled under the National Action Plan, it is safe to say that with the pro-active measures of the Armed forces, even the provincial governments have got the ball rolling. In a meeting held this week, Chaudhry Nisar provided details of the NAP and the action that is being taken to counter extremism in the country. He explained that there are currently 61 proscribed organizations in the country with one being on the watch list. This number has come down from a staggering 212 organisations according to a March 2013 list. Moreover, he added that 62,000 combing operations had been carried out as part of the NAP and about 68,000 people were arrested during this period. He said 5,900 intelligence-based operations had been carried out and their number rose to 11,000 since the launch of Zarb-i-Azb operation.
Despite facing setbacks as a result of the blowback the security agencies are facing in their pursuit to rid this country from the scourge of terrorism, the resolve and will to keep pushing is quite apparent. Incidents such as the recent killing of Col. Shuja Khanzada should further strengthen the determination of those fighting to rid the country of these non-state actors; only then will be able to do justice to the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives in this war.



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