Since the recent conflict between India and Pakistan, there has been a lot of discussion on the National Action Plan (NAP). Many politicians, army officials, and PM Imran Khan have had discussions regarding the NAP and have even revised it.
The NAP was implemented in 2015 by the Government of Pakistan to curb terrorism, supplement the anti-terrorist efforts and to crack down on potential militant outfits. The NAP was created in the wake of the deadly Army Public School attack in Peshawar and is considered to be a major state-coordinated retaliation.
The action plan primarily focusses on both foreign and domestic policy initiatives to help eliminate potential threats to the sovereignty and security of the country. The NAP also gives authority to ministerial departments such as the Foreign Ministry and the Finance Ministry to reach out to other Muslim countries and help clamp down on financers of sectarian networks operating against Pakistan.
Post implementation, the NAP has been successful in constituting towards the safety of the country. Since 2015, the NAP has been able to freeze accounts used to funnel Rs. 10.2 billion to terrorist outfits, arrest close to 150 people who were in violation of the laws of the state and by working with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been able to verify more than 70 million SIM’s while blocking 11 million that had not been verified.
Bilawal and the NAP
In recent news, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari criticized the role of the government with regards to the NAP.
On a couple of occasions, which began with his address to the party’s provincial council meeting in Sindh, Mr. Bhutto-Zardari has reiterated his demand for the removal of three Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) federal ministers for allegedly being connected with banned outfits. The PPP chairman also warned the PTI government that under the case of non-compliance in this matter, the government would not be supported by the PPP on any matter. Adding that “I demand a joint parliamentary committee for the implementation of the National Action Plan and the removal of all three federal ministers for their connection with the extremist organizations. If our demands are not met then we would not support the government over any move.”
The PPP chairman also criticized and doubted the credible actions taken by the government against banned leaders and organizations under the NAP. Mr. Bhutto-Zardari also said that “the government was not implementing the NAP”, after a meeting the National Accountability Bureau in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
The Secretary of Information Omer Sarfraz Cheema said that Bilawal should answer the questions that have been directed to him by NAB instead of constantly criticizing the NAP. In a press statement, secretary Cheema said, “Bilawal Zardari should have answered NAB questions and provided proof of his innocence, but he acted as a spokesperson for Narendra Modi and criticized the NAP.”
Secretary Cheema later added that “Bilawals statement belittled our martyrs. His anti-state remarks have unmasked the PPP’s inimical face.”
In other news, which transpired on Wednesday, opposition parties have decided to boycott the parliamentary leaders meeting called by the federal government over the NAP.
PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, in a letter to FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the opposition demands the government to give a briefing regarding the NAP to all lawmakers instead of a select few.
NAP in Question
It seems as though the opinion on the validity of the NAP is always in question by the opposition and others in the government. However, according to the general populous the NAP has helped curb the spread of terrorist/banned outfits and timely action against certain individuals has been taken.
After the Pulwama incident, for example, the NAP was successful in cracking down on outfits such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). However, there is still criticism to be placed here. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said, in an interview with BBC Urdu, “with timely NAP implementation, India wouldn’t have any basis for accusations against Pakistan and Pakistan would have evidence to present about the steps taken by the country against extremism.”
The meeting for the NAP is scheduled for March 28. Only time will tell whether or not the action plan initiative is better for Pakistan’s security for the long run.