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MQM’s Policy Brief on National Counter Terrorism Policy (NCTP):

 MQM’s Policy Brief on National Counter Terrorism Policy (NCTP):
 Posted on: 8/13/2013

MQM’s Policy Brief on National Counter Terrorism Policy (NCTP):




Pakistan is confronted with twin menace of terrorism and the fast deteriorating law and order situation since Soviets attacked Afghanistan on the Christmas Eve of 1979.


On the instigation and the support of the US Government the Afghan clergy and especially Pakistan under Zia-ul-Haque entered the war arena. That was the beginning of national disaster that goes unabated with the defeat of Soviet Russia and departure of USA from the scene. On the attack on twin towers on 11th September 2001 by the jihadi-Talibans and Al Qaeda, America mobilized the whole world in its favor and thus Pakistan also joined the WAR ON TERROR. (WOT). Hence it may be said.“  Ziaul Haque sowed the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind. 


Terrorism is vociferously condemned by all successive governments since 9/11 but cohesive and sustained counter measures were scarcely taken. The fatal terrorist attacks have risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009, while between September 2001 and May 2011 35000 Pakistanis were killed. It is reported that by June 2013 about 43000 people lost their precious lives. Media access is heavily restricted in the most disturbed areas. There is only fitful releases of information by the Government agencies and the media reportage. The actual figures could be much more.


The reason for a Spiral and an alarming rise in the acts of Terrorism during the last 10 years are:


i)       The absence of a People owned and a People backed National Counter Terrorism Policy (NCTP) in Pakistan i.e. lack of People’s OWNERSHIP into COUNTER TERRORISM.


ii)    The confusion amongst the Policy makers, the Executors and the Politicians in Pakistan that whether the WAR against the Menace of Terrorism was just an anybody else’s war and Pakistan was dragged into it out of a doctrine of necessity OR this WAR was always our OWN WAR and that TERRORISM is the biggest enemy of Pakistan.

iii)  Another confusion amongst the Policy maker, the Executers & the Political Fraternity is that whether Pakistan is an ultra radical theocratic state or a moderate & enlightened state of Qauid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.





Disastrous events are taking place in a fast succession that have baffled the concerned authorities and the law enforcing agencies. Before the debris around the Intelligence Offices of Sukkur could be removed, the blast at Parachunar took a toll of sixty five persons excluding the injured ones. The former was against the Agencies, while the later was blatantly sectarian in character. On the heels of Parachunar came the raid on the Central Jail Dera Ismael Khan where more than 243  prisoners belonging to the banned outfits- Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jahngvi were released and taken away by the terrorists. A gruesome incident took place when 13 labourers who were going to Punjab in buses were picked and brutally murdered  Immediately, thereafter  a bomb killed 8 football fans at Lyrai, Karachi. The worst happened when a suicide bomber attacked during the funeral of a Station House Officer, as a result of which 38 police personnel including a DIG, DSP and more than13 police inspectors were killed at Quetta. The suicidal attacks and bomb blasts on mosques, imam bargahs, schools, markets, busses carrying nurses to hospital or the devotees to visit religious shrines go undeterred. It seems that the terrorists are well-organized, better trained, well-equipped with latest weapons, having a planned strategy, motivated (ideologically or by replicating the tactics adopted byHassan Bin Sabbah of Qila Alamout), an intelligence wing and above all  platoons of suicide bombers.


To fight such terrorists by the forces or other law enforcing agencies on ad hoc basis with no unity of command, lacking coordination, dedication and above all the will to liquidate a disciplined band of marauders, is a frustrating exercise. Demoralized, beleaguered, ill-trained and ill-equipped police is another dilemma. This state of affairs of the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) render them further helpless to combat the ever rising incidents of TERRORISM.   




Normally terrorism is defined as violence against civilians or a government to achieve political, or religious objectives by creating fear, terror, and perpetrated for an assumed ideological goal. Universally terrorism comes to mean warfare of the weak against strong [government] but in case of Pakistan it is just the reverse. The act of vandalism is led by the strong (terrorist) against the weak (government).




The deteriorating law and order situation riffed with rise in all kinds of crimes all over Pakistan is not the end result of terrorism, rather is caused by a weak or apathetic government or because of the poorest of the poor governance.


Besides there are extraneous causes- mass unemployment, load-shedding, hyper inflation, non-accessibility to heath and educational facilities to the teeming millions and the rising disparity between the rich and the poor are some of the important causes that are fueling terrorism.






To reverse the trend by controlling the acts of terrorists, to curb the rising trend of crime and to address the socio-economic issues, a multi-pronged strategy needs to be devised by the Political & Policy Institutions of Pakistan that boasts to strengthen and sustain the PARTICIPATORYDEMOCRACY.


The more serious warning came from the Army Chief of Pakistan, when  on March 7, 2013 he conveyed the Army’s concern to the President Asif Ali Zardari in the following words, “the real dangers for Pakistan comes from within and not without” a policy statement, certainly provides a window of an opportunity to address the Civil-Military Relationship  aspect of framing a Policy on Countering Terrorism in Pakistan.  


A comprehensive National Counter Terrorism Policy (NCTP) / Strategy under the umbrella of a wider National Security Policy, has thus become incumbent and the need of the hour.


Mr. Ataf Hussain (Founder and Leader of MQM) has long sought

Legislation and Creation of Institutions to deal with Terrorism in all

shapes, forms and manifestations.


Thus a NCTP has got to be evolved by All Political Parties jointly as a single item National Agendato save this Titanic from sinking. The Strategy has got to be Multi-Pronged to deal with the different factors that have lead to the present day scenario.


Hence it is mandatory that a Round Table Conference (RTC) of all political parties and all stake holders be convened by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. It needs to be attended by the Chiefs of ISI, MI, IB; Chiefs of Army (including Joint Chief of Staff), Navy and Air force as observers. The Conference, instead of being a photo-session, needs to evolve a pragmatic national strategy, to control the menace of terrorism, conventional crime, economic meltdown and social unrest.




I-                  FIRST COMPONENT _____ ROLE OF THE POLITICAL AND THE EXECUTIVE ARM: The existing Federal Authority viz; NCTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) be made functional and effective. In this regard Models of Counter Terrorism, Policies, Authorities & Statutes of some countries like Sri Lanka ( 1983 to 2009), Malaysia( 1948-1960), Philippines( 1899-1902) , UK( Political and Negotiated Settlement of the Northern Ireland in 1998), El Salvador (1980-1992) Guatemala (1963-1993), Models of Conflict Resolution and Vietnam (1959—1972), Algeria (1954-1962) etc and additionally, the Models of Operations in Columbia 1963- Present ) and Iraq ( 2005-Prsent ) also offer current real time Counter Insurgency measures that are having significant positive effects be also studied and suitable points be adopted into Principles of our Policy, Authority Structures & Statutes like the National Counter Terrorism Authority Act-2013 (NCTAA-2013).   


II-                The Parliamentary Committee on National Security be given a permanent role to KEEP AN OVERSIGHT of the NCTA and act as a FEDERAL COUNCIL, in terms of:


a)     MONITORING, EVALUATING AND IMPLEMENTING the National Policy on Counter Terrorism.  

b)    Lending its own input, formulating, improving etc the BROAD OUTLINES OF THE POLICY on Counter Terrorism.

c)     Making PERIODICAL ASSESSMENTS on the realization of the Goals set out in the Policy & identify flaws & weaknesses in it and its implementation & suggest ways and means to rectify them.  

d)    Quarterly meeting with similar Provincial Councils / Standing Committees of the respective Provincial Assemblies (PAs) on Counter Terrorism to ensure Interprovincial  as well as Federal-Provincial Coordination in the effective implementation of NCTPOnly an INTEGRATED STRATEGY can ensure success.

e)     Do oversight & review the performance of the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to ensure fine Coordination and alignment between the Policy Level & the Implementation level to give effect to the NCTP. Thus the Emphasis is again on an INTEGRATED STRATEGY.


III-                 Such Councils (Federal as well as all four Provinces) need to be staffed by qualified personnel, with a strong Intelligence Wing to monitor and evaluate the progress.


IV-            All the Provincial Councils should be independent and perform the same functions as the Federal Council or the Standing Committee on SECURITY AFFAIRS, do at Federal level.


V-                   Thus four independent PCTAs (Provincial Counter Terrorism Authorities) also need to be established through legislation by the four provincial assemblies.


VI-            Effective coordination between the NCTA and PCTAs need to be ensured by the Prime Minister who should hold joint meetings of NCTA & PCTAs once a month to review the progress and take further action as warranted.


VII-          All PCTAs to have their own Dedicated and ANTI TERRORISM SPECIFIC, RAPID RESPONSE FORCE (RRF ) & INTELLIGENCE WING. Thus entirely a separate FORCE is needed to combat terrorism by recruiting qualified officers and personnel in such a force. The regular Police should be left to carry out the routineANTI-CRIME AND ANTI-VIOLENCE duties as normal. The Police Reforms however will enable the Regular Police also to support the COMBATANT RRF to fight terrorists.      




XI.     Successful Counter Terrorism or Counter Insurgencies Measures  needs to deny the Terrorist and the Insurgents Operating Space. This includes logistic and money supply lines as well as territory to operate from. Similarly the Law Enforcement system also needs to purge elements from its Ranks, who support Terrorists and Terrorism.




I)                       In addition, the Federal and Provincial Legislatures to Legislate the INSTITUTION of suchAnti-Terrorist Tribunals/Courts which shall act as the JUDICIAL Component of the NCTP. The Tribunals or Courts would not be able to function unless strong teams of Prosecutors are attached to these Tribunals and the Courts. Public punishment to hardened criminals may be considered


II)                    The management and control of prisons/jails needs to be revolutionized. If the hardened criminals and terrorists, after having been punished, are ensconced in such jails which are vulnerable to terrorists attack whereby the condemned prisoners are released by their follow criminals, it becomes a case of love, labour lost. Jails from populated area in cities be shifted to the outskirts.  


III)            Improvement of Criminal System of Justice – Legislation by the Federal & Provincial Legislatures to give effect to laws as are needed for the PROTECTION OF WITNESSES AND JUDGES.  


IV)              Use of Technology and Science of Criminology is very important, to impart, on Regular Basis the advancements in these fields to the COMBATANT Anti Terrorist Forces. To do this SPECIAL INSTITUTES are required to be established to impart MODERN TRAINING TO OUR OFFICERS.  


V)                      Establishment of a network of FORENSIC LABS to begin with, in Islamabad and in all four Provincial Capitals is also absolutely must to enable the use of MODERN FORENSIC SCIENCE in exposing the alleged suspects in acts of terrorism.   


VI)                   NADRA should establish a DATA BANK OF THE BIO-MATRICS of Terrorists, Criminals, Suspects allegedly involved and arrested so that the Forensic Experts can use them as and when needed. Thus NADRA is needed to be made effective and equipped with sophisticated Hard and Software System.


Since the average age of most of the suicide bombers has been even less than 18 years a compulsory Biometric Record of the PUPILS between the age of 16 and 18 in colleges, schools and madrassas be maintained.


VII)           International cooperation and coordination is also very important. Sharing of Security and Intelligence information by Counter Terrorism Agencies all over the world should be an essential tool for the effective Eradication of Terrorism from Pakistan.


VIII)       In case of Military Operations, the security forces would clear an  area from the terrorists, but, what about its Sustainability; the ultimate holding by the Political and Civil Administration. The examples are there in the cases of SWAT and SOUTH WAZIRISTAN AGENCY (SWA). Thus theCivilian and Political Administration also have to be strengthened to be able to Shoulder its Responsibility as and when it is called upon to do so.



III-          THIRD COMPONENT______ SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELEOMENT AND PROCESS OF DEVOLUTION:   Socio-economic reforms have got to be undertaken. The meltdown of economy be arrested Industrialization to be boosted,  inter alia, to liquidate unemployment and to increase the GDP. The Education Policy needs to be reviewed. A unitary syllabi of all the institutions, without any discrimination be introduced as it is the only way to accelerate and sustain the growth all over the provinces. Madrasah Reforms has to be an integral part of the Education and Policy. Medium of instruction may be English or Urdu, but it shall be a mono syllabi. Again the Health Facilities have got be extended to all and sundry Human Resourceis our biggest asset. Our Socio- Economic Reforms Agenda must assign a TOP PRIORITY toHUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS in Pakistan .Drastic Measures are needed to address the socio-economic issues without which a Welfare State cannot be established.


Process of devolution must continue, till it reaches its conclusion. This is high time that Local Governments be made more EFFECTIVE and AUTONOMOUSso that they secure theOWNERSHIP of the CITIZENS & COMMUNITIES from STREETS, LANES andNEIGHBORHOODS of Pakistan into the Process of ERADICATION OF TERRORISM.


Without lending ownership to the people, Pakistan cannot be rid of this MENACE.      


IV-            FOURTH COMPONENT _____ DE-RADICALIZATION OF PAKISTAN: De-radicalization of Society, by Curbing Religious Extremism through Conscious Policy andProactive Efforts is pivotally essential to prevent rising trends of Terrorism in Pakistani Society.


De-radicalization can be distinguished as a tool that supports broader counter-terrorism and counter radicalization strategy. The country is infested not only by those who crossed border after the departure of Soviet Union but by uneducated, non-privileged completely deprived and isolated people living in FATA and in the tribal districts of North and South Waziristan and so on,


The urge to fight infields after the defeat of Communists, the Talibans and Jehadis have been emboldened to fight the Pakistanis also whom they consider as anti- Islam or as Westernized citizens. Radicalism has been increasing because of frustration.


It is Inequalities of Income and opportunity the Social Disparities like the hold of Feudral lords and the Feudelisim and the seminary ill-educated clergy over the poverty ridden people and the Overcentralization of the State Apparatus, that generate Radicalism. The frusted and fanatics consider that they can convert the people to Islamic ways of their own imagination by gun.


Hence to combat terrorism, deradicalization as policy tool has got  be adopted. This may include reforms in electoral system, Liberalized education system by innovative syllabi, grass root democracy. Reduction of disparity in income and living standards. Quality training facilities for the unemployed and last but not the least to introduce monitoring and evaluation of the wide-spread uncontrolled Madaris atleast some of which have become nurseries for the bomblasters and suicide bkombers.


The success of Saudi Strategy is composed of prevention, rehabilitation and aftercare programs, the consular DEBRIEFING of the IMPLICATED SUSPECTS AND INCRIMINATED TERRORISTS is a key part of this strategy. Increasingly using conventional and soft measures to combat violent extremists has bore some very positive results. Pakistan may emulate such measure to fight radicalism.


V-               FIFTH COMPONENT ____ THE FOREIGN POLICY TO BE COMPATIBLE TO FIGHT TERRORISM : Besides direct Counter Terrorism measures and socio-economic strategies we must also think seriously to review OUR FOREIGN POLICY.


It is neither USA, nor UK, nor any European country or even China that can come to our rescue in combating terrorism. The next big challenge is year 2014, when the EXIT PLAN of the American and International Troops from Afghanistan begins. It is the Region that will have to Respond and Act, Unitedly and Jointly to give OWNERSHIP to the Fight and the Process of Eradication of the Terrorism from the Region and Serve our Mutual Interest and Advantage. The Regional Countries like India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan will have to join hands to tackle this widerpread menace. Such cooperation may include measures in the arena of Intelligence Sharing, Economics, Education, Health, Environment, Politics and Counter Terrorism Operations. Regional cooperation is the key to the resolution of all the problems emanating from radicalism and terrorism.


VI-            SIXTH COMPONENT ______ STUDY & RESEARCH ON TERRORISTS GROUPS: A multi-pronged strategy to combat terrorism would be a futile exercise, if a detailed study and research is not made as what factions of terrorists are involved in terrorism. A single recipe for different terrorists’ factions will not resolve the issue. It is difficult to identify all the groups of terrorists and their targeted objectives. But it is certain that their target is Government and Governmental Agencies, including law enforcing agencies and the opposite secretarian factions, mostly the members of Shia Community, Ofcourse the ordinary Pakistanis are also facing the WRATH of these RUTHLESS AND CRUEL TERRORISTS. Baluchistan Insurgency waged be separatist there, be dealt with differently for the TERRORISM perpetrated by Religious, Extremists, Fanatics and terrorists. But by and large all factions are using most violent tactics to disturb and destroy the peace of the country Government has got to identify such groups and deal with them as situation demands.


VII.   SEVENTH COMPONENT _ Disaster Rehabilitation and  Management


Disaster Rehabilitation and Management Cells have got to be reorganized by each province and each District. If rescue operations are undertaken promptly, lot of lives could be saved by their presence and efficiency.




The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP ) is the main terrorist network operating against the state of Pakistan and its people. Strong desire is present among the ruling circle both at federal level and those formed Government in KPK to talk to TTP for bringing peace in Pakistan.


Unfortunately, there appears no breakthrough in this wishful policy dialogue between Government and TTP. The primary hurdle is the pessimistic mind-set of the TTP, the group has reflected over years. Dialogue with the TTP remains non-productive or even none-starter, as the group challenges writ of the state. This is surprising that, in previous three agreements, the state gave some sort of recognition to the presence of TTP or this terrorists outfit          (prior to 2007) and undergone a brief dialogue process. On its part, the terrorists group continuous challenging the state except for the duration of it ill – organized period.


MQM is not averse to holding any dialogue, with any terrorists and extremists group as such, MQM wants that the negotiations be opened with the Government and State to be in a strong and DICTATING position and not being weak and at the receiving end. The Terms and Conditions of the TALKS to be CLEARED from the PARLIAMENT OR POLITICAL PARTIES, STATE and the GOVERNMENT should be very CLEAR, as to which GROUP OF TERRORIST are DIALOGUE worthy and ready LAY ARMS ACEPT THE CONSTITUTION OF PAKISTAN and come in the MAIN STREAM OF THE COUNTRY.


Let us have a well-debated and practical counter-terrorism strategy at the state level to combat the TTP. Indecisiveness at state level would allow TTP and its affiliates more maneuvering space and enhance strength, may be difficult to be overpowered in the days to come.



7/19/2018 4:28:07 PM