Flawed judicial system continuing sore point of implementation of NAP – Punjab Improves Performance on Implementation of NAP


August 30; Punjab has improved performance on the implementation of National Action Plan during second quarter of 2017 compared to performance in the previous quarter. This was shared by PILDAT in its third Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism in Punjab .

The third Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism covering the period of April-June 2017 was released at a public forum that was addressed by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider, Former Governor Sindh; Former Federal Minister for Interior, Mr. Shahid Hamid, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Former Governor Punjab, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Noel Israel Khokhar, Executive Dean, Forman Christian College, Lahore; Former DG ISSRA, Mr. Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami, Editor-in-Chief, Daily Pakistan, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT and Ms. Marva Khan, Assistant Professor, LUMS.

Prominent among Punjab MPAs who joined the Forum were Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly (PTI), Mr. Waheed Gul, (PML-N),Ms. Saadia Sohail Rana (PTI),Dr. Murad Raas, (PTI), and Ms. Bushra Butt (PML-N).

Speaking at the occasion, Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed, MPA said that while terrorism has indeed decreased in the country, we need to make consistent vigilant efforts to eliminate its roots. He believed that while NAP has addressed short term issues of terrorism, long-term measures taken to counter extremism have yet to become evident. He also suggested that at the national level, leadership of political parties should hold quarterly meetings to review nationwide implementation of National Action Plan.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider was of the view that decrease in terrorist attacks indicates success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. He emphasised the need for coordination in the district, provincial and national levels among law enforcement bodies for effective counter terrorism measures. He also believed that people have the best information and they should be encouraged to play their role in keeping check on their surroundings so that the police and law enforcement agencies have the support and assistance of the people.

Mr. Shahid Hamid was of the view that the most prominent success with respect to the implementation of National Action Plan in Punjab is the effectiveness of a dedicated counter terrorism force. Since, according to him, pre-emptive action is the most suitable metric for evaluation of the effective of counter terrorism operations, the 51 potential terrorists threats aborted by the CTD Punjab shows the efficacy of the organisation. Mr. Hamid also highlighted the broad nature of the Anti Terrorism Act and called for its revision. He suggested that the process should be made transparent. He was also of the opinion that a pertinent question that should be asked by the Federal and Provincial Governments is the cost of implementation of National Action Plan for the past three years.

Mr. Mujib ur Rahman Shami believed that timelines for handling cases provided in law are not given any importance by the Courts. He suggested that relevant laws should have such provisions that those judges who do not adhere to timelines provided in laws are penalised.

Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Noel Israel Khokhar said that trial of civilians suspected of terrorism by Military Courts has been made a responsibility for the Army while it is primarily the domain of the judiciary. He believed that criminal justice system reforms are urgently required so that this burden can be shifted from the Army back to the judiciary.

Ms. Marva Khan opined that certain NAP Points are in conflict with fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. This requires for a more nuanced understanding of the work that needs to be done to counter terrorism in Pakistan.

Earlier while discussing implementation of National Action Plan, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said that the overall general trajectory of the status of implementation of NAP in this quarter has been slightly upward. Of the 15 NAP Points pertaining to the performance of Punjab on the implementation of the National Action, 2 NAP Points (NAP Point 5, which relates to action against hate literature, and 7, which relates to preventing re-emergence of proscribed organisations) have shown upward progress in Punjab’s implementation of NAP while 1 NAP Point (NAP Point 14, which relates to action against abuse of social media) has shown a regression in status of implementation. However it must be noted that NAP Point 14 mostly comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. PILDAT has not given assessment of status of implementation of 2 NAP Points (NAP Point 1, which calls for implementation of death sentences of terrorism convicts, and 2, which calls for the constitution of Military Courts) due to insufficient data. The remaining 10 Points reflect consistent implementation levels that do not reflect a regression on status of implementation of NAP in Punjab during second quarter of 2017.

Province of Punjab received Green traffic light (progress satisfactory) on 3 out of 15 NAP points; Green-Amber (progress somewhat satisfactory) on 6 NAP points, followed by 3 Amber-Red traffic lights (progress somewhat unsatisfactory) and 1 Red light (progress unsatisfactory) projecting an overall upward progress on implementation of NAP during this quarter.

Of the 20 NAP points, 15 pertain to Punjab. While PILDAT has sought data from all Provincial Governments, as well as the Federal Government, the Government of Punjab, especially the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (Punjab CTD) deserve appreciation for upholding requirements of transparency and public access through sharing data not only for the first two years (2015-2016) and the first quarter of 2017 but also the second quarter of 2017 covered under this Monitor. PILDAT has recently received data from the Government of Sindh for the first quarter of 2017 and the past two years while the Government of Balochistan has also committed to providing data.

English Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism in Punjab can be accessed here .

Urdu Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism in Punjab can be accessed here .