The first ever National Internal Security Policy of Pakistan, presented by Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan in the National Assembly addresses critical issues ranging from street crimes to nuclear terrorism, envisages a de-radicalisation programme by bringing Madrassas under its national education system within one year. As debates on NISP continue in the media, and common man religiously continues to follow latest developments on NISP, Pakistan Tribe spoke to MNA Maiza Hameed to obtain a summary of the policy for a better understanding.
Terrorism has now become an existential threat to Pakistan. Pakistan is the second most affected country by terrorism, after Iraq. Over 50,000 Pakistanis have been affected or killed, out of which over 5,200 were from the Armed Forces or Police. Pakistan’s economy has lost an estimated US$ 78 billion. Suicide attacks and the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have increased sharply after 2007. Terrorists target physical infrastructure like schools, colleges, bridges, electric supply lines, police stations, and military posts. Economic growth, social harmony, and prosperity are all affected; indeed, the very life, liberty, and dignity of Pakistani citizens are under threat.
The priority of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2014-18 is peaceful resolution with all threats to Pakistan, from a position of strength. NISP aims to change the posture of the current National Internal Security Apparatus (NISA) from reactive, short-term, and disjointed to proactive, coordinated, long-term and streamlined. Intelligence coordination among all civilian and military intelligence agencies is a priority.
Establishing the writ of the state, from identification of threats, to arrest, prosecution, and punishment of terrorists is also a priority. The protection of life, liberty, and dignity of Pakistani citizens as enshrined in Article 9 and Article 14 of the Constitution is of utmost importance. The Policy also aims to promote tolerance by constructing and disseminating a National Narrative to counter the ideology of terrorists. The identification and protection of critical landmarks is also a priority.
The current threats and shortcomings of National Internal Security Apparatus are varied. Existing NISA is reactive, focused on the short-term, and disjointed. Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) have coordination problems. Extremism, sectarianism, terrorism, and militancy are non-traditional threats. The salient points under NISP are outlined below:
Improving Coordination Among Existing Internal Security Apparatus
An important output of NISP has been a comprehensive mapping of the internal security apparatus. NISP clearly outlines responsibility and accountability among agencies. So far, military campaigns in Swat and South Waziristan were effective in CLEARING terrorists, but not in holding, building, and integrating. NISP outlines that Armed Forces will come to clear areas with terrorist activity, Civil Armed Forces will hold, Police will build and restore the write of state. This will all be done under political oversight. The provincial police units are operating under different Police Acts. To make police efforts more coordinated, NISP has an objective to bring them under a uniform Police Law.
The establishment of Directorate of Internal Security (DIS) at federal level under NACTA will bring 33 civilian and military intelligence and operational agencies under one roof. The total strength of current NISA exceeds 600,000 however 56,000 vacancies need to be filled urgently. The establishment of DIS will prevent duplication of efforts, pool resources, and increases efficiency and coordination especially to provide EARLY WARNINGS.
Better Afghan Border Control Regime
The long, porous border with Afghanistan and the presence and influx of 1.64 million Afghan refugees is a danger to Pakistan’s internal security. The solutions proposed under NISP include: biometric identification, proper patrol, and the establishment of Civil Armed Forces Headquarter for a better border control regime.
Improving Criminal Justice System
Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System has not been able to effectively prosecute cases, and has low conviction rates because of a lack of proper investigation. NISP has a priority to amend laws, enact new laws, and to develop mechanisms for prosecution and conviction of terrorists. This government has already amended Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 to update the definition of terrorism and acts of terrorism so as to incorporate the new threats.
Ideological Response to Terrorist Propaganda
Terrorism is being fought on an ideological level as well.In this sense, terrorism is an invisible and ambiguous threat. NISP’s priority is to build and disseminate a tolerant National Narrative with media, religious scholars, intelligentsia, and academia. Terrorist groups are spreading fear through propaganda as well as online movements. NISP will go through the proper channels to bring a new law for the prevention of cyber crimes.
Proper Engagement of Youth
Youth consists of 28% of Pakistan’s population and is vulnerable to being inducted into extremist/terrorist/sectarian groups. The reintegration of youth in mainstream and productive activities is a priority for NISP. Under Youth Engagement Strategy (YES), the Prime Minister’s Business Loans Programme will be implemented to provide opportunities for youth.
Reintegration of Extremist/Violent Persons
Under NISP, there will be a National De-Radicalization Program. The Pakistan Army successfully initiated a De-Radicalization programme in Swat,which combined instruction with skill-development.
Some madrassas have increased sectarianism and extremism with the publication and circulation of hate material. NISP proposes to bring madrassas into mainstream education system. Madrassas will be provided support for their administrationand an accredited curriculum.Madrassas and mosques also receive funding from various internal and external sources and do not undergo auditing. NISP aims to have proper regulatory mechanisms as well as financial auditing of madrassa funding.
Protection of Critical Landmarks
Critical landmarks have never been mapped. Under NISP, critical landmarks will be mapped, identified and protected. This is called “hotspot policing.”
Further Details of NISP:
- The implementation of NISP will cost an estimated Rs32 billion.
- NISP has two components: Soft-Comprehensive Response Plan (CRP) and Hard-Composite Deterrence Plan (CDP).
- CRP will be implemented by the Directorate of Research and Coordination.
- Deterrence will be implemented by Directorate of Internal Security- which will do capacity building and restructuring of existing NISA.
- NISP framework has 3 elements of Dialogue, Isolation & Deterrence.
- Establishing of Federal Response Force (RRF)