Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism

Volume 2: January – March 2017

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Executive Summary

The PILDAT Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan to Counter Terrorism in Punjab covers the first quarter of 2017. This Monitor uses the assessment of progress on implementation of NAP in the first two years (January 2015-December 2016) as a baseline in order to report progress on NAP implementation during January to March 2017. Since the two periods being compared are uneven (PILDAT’s first monitor covered the period January 2015 – December 2016), PILDAT has used per month averages to compare quantifiable data.

This PILDAT Monitor assesses progress of NAP in Punjab in the backdrop of the February 13, 2017 terrorist attack that took place on Charing Cross, Lahore. [1].

 

Table 1: Traffic Light Method of Assessment

1

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Green : The implementation process has worked well. Some improvements are needed. (Progress good)

2

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Green-Amber : The implementation process has worked relatively well. Improvements should be made. (Progress satisfactory)

3

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Amber-Red : The implementation process has been relatively poor. Significant improvements should be made. (Progress somewhat unsatisfactory)

4

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Red : The implementation process has been poor overall. Immediate and major changes need to be made. (Progress unsatisfactory)

During this period, national developments that have impacted the progress of NAP in Punjab include the revival of Military Courts and the launch of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad.

 

Box 1: Implementation of NAP in Punjab

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 accolades and appreciation for upholding requirements of transparency and public access through sharing data not only for the first two years (2015-2016) but also for the first quarter of 2017 covered under this Monitor. While PILDAT awaits data from Federal Government as well as the other 3 Provinces in order to be able to carry out an informed comparative analysis on implementation of NAP across Pakistan, we wish to thank the Government of Punjab as well as the CTD Punjab for sharing performance of Punjab on the National Action Plan to citizens scrutiny and assessment.

Of the 15 points pertaining to the performance of Punjab on the implementation of the National Action Plan, the first quarter of 2017 has recorded substantial progress on the implementation of 7 NAP points in Punjab (NAP Points No. 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, and 15).

Gauged in the backdrop of major terrorist incidents in Punjab, terrorism incidents during this quarter have recorded a 33% decrease depicting improvement. Punjab had witnessed 12 major terrorist attacks during 2015-2016, bringing the average to 1.5 during each quarter compared to one terrorist incidence during the first quarter of 2017.

While 7 out of 15 NAP points have shown upward progress in Punjab’s implementation of NAP, the remaining 8 points reflect consistent implementation levels that do not reflect a regression on status of implementation of NAP in Punjab during the first quarter of 2017.

Province of Punjab receives green traffic light on 3 out of 15 NAP points; Green-Amber on 5 NAP points, followed by 5 Amber-Red traffic lights and 2 Red lights projecting an overall positive progress on implementation of NAP during this quarter.

Below is a brief summary of status of implementation of NAP in Punjab during the first quarter spanning January to March 2017:


Table 2: Status of Implementation of NAP in Punjab: January – March 2017

No.

Point

Implementation Status January 2015 – December 2016

Implementation Status
January – March 2017

1

Implementation of death sentences of those convicted of terrorism

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2

Special courts under the supervision of Army. The duration of these courts would be two years

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3

Militant outfits and armed gangs will not be allowed to operate in the country

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4

NACTA, the anti-terrorism institution, will be strengthened.

Federal in Scope – Not Covered in this Monitor

5

Strict action against the literature, newspapers, and magazines promoting hatred, extremism, sectarianism, and intolerance

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6

Choking financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations

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7

Ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organizations

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8

Establishing and deploying a dedicated counter terrorism force

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9

Taking effective action against religious persecution

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10

Registration and regulation of religious seminaries

 

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11

Ban on glorification of terrorist and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media

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12

Administrative and development reforms in FATA with immediate focus on repatriation of IDPs.

Federal in Scope – Not Covered in this Monitor

13

Communication network of terrorists will be dismantled completely

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14

Measures against abuse of social media for terrorism

 

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NAP Point No. 4: NACTA, the anti-terrorism institution, will be strengthened

This point pertains to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and is therefore not covered in this Monitor.

 

NAP Point No. 5: Strict action against the literature, newspapers, and magazines promoting hatred, extremism, sectarianism, and intolerance

While hate speech on electronic media is defined in the Code of Conduct for Media Broadcasters and Cable TV Operators (Schedule A) of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Rules — 2009 [14], Section 295A of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 more broadly deals with hate speech in these words: ‘ Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [the citizens of Pakistan], by words, wither spoken or written, or by visible representation insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.’ [15]

In Punjab one outlet was proceeded against on the basis of this point. Meanwhile, the number of accused arrested for hate material was 22, a drop of 27 per cent while convictions were 6, an increase of 23 per cent as compared to the previous two years. Importantly, the conviction rate for this quarter was 27.2 per cent, a marked increase from the conviction rate for past two years that was 17.3 per cent. [16]

The implementation process has remained consistent and requires improvements.

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NAP Point No. 6: Choking financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations

The number of cases registered against terrorist financiers were four (from 95 in 2015-2016), which amounts to a decrease by three times, while the number of people arrested were 9 (125 to 9), which is a decrease of 74 per cent. The number of people convicted for terror financing were 7, which is 2.4 times more than the average of previous two years. [17] Comparing rate of convictions between the two years, the rate in this quarter at 77.8 per cent is markedly higher than the rate during the past two years at 18. 4 per cent.

However, it must be noted that these cases pertain to terrorist financing under the Anti Terrorism Act, which mostly involves collection of charities for the purpose of terrorist financing. This does not include organised banking offences for terrorist financing as that comes under the ambit of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Here, again, while sectarian terrorist organisations have been proceeded against, with their charity boxes or means of collection no longer visibly apparent; however, there is little visible action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohamed. This owes itself to a lack of clarity that the law enforcement agencies require from the State.

The high rate of convictions coupled with a decrease in the number of arrests shows improvement though it requires considerable improvements.

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NAP Point No. 7: Ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organizations

No proscribed organisation has re-emerged in this period. In addition, two organisations, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation have been put under watch by the Ministry of Interior on January 27, 2017. [18]

The legal lacunas reported previously largely remain as the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 has not been amended either to criminalise all persons associated with a proscribed organisation or to bar any person associated with a proscribed organisation from creating another organisation. This is closely tied with the Societies Registration Act 1860, since organisations registered under it usually do not have a complete record of its members. Hence, whenever an organisation is proscribed, some unknown members of that organisation are able to register a new organisation with a different name under it.

The Societies Registration Act 1860 has not been strengthened in this period so that Governments are able to maintain a list of all members of the society as well as a database of registered organisations with effective compliance of auditing and reporting. This is where technological solutions can be used to quickly identify members associated with a proscribed organisation and prevent them from forming another organisation.

The non-emergence of a proscribed organisation during this period suggests improvements though this point requires further focus.

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NAP Point No. 8: Establishing and deploying a dedicated counter terrorism force

Punjab has a dedicated well-functioning CTD with its strength at 5000 personnel.[19]

Moreover, CTD Punjab has thwarted 29 potential terrorist threats with the rate being an increase of 31 per cent. [20]

As the progress achieved on this NAP was already good, no major improvements were required. Moreover, the higher rate of progress is indication that the dedicated CTD is doing its job well. The implementation process has remained well. Some improvements are needed.

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NAP Point No. 9: Taking effective action against religious persecution

Religious persecution can be viewed in a number of ways including overt acts of violence, systematic exclusion of religious minorities from the means of upward mobility, and implicit means of ostracism and psychological abuse. However, this multifaceted approach of viewing religious persecution does not appear to be evident at the official level.

This period saw one reported incident of killing of a person belonging to the Ahmedi community, resulting in 4 arrests with 3 cases under trial. [21]

While the work done against religious persecution socially may continue to fall short of the multi-faceted problems that exists in Pakistan, lack of a major attack on religious minorities during this period is an indication of improvement.

The implementation process has worked relatively well. Improvements should be made.

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NAP Point No. 10: Registration and regulation of religious seminaries

An additional 34 new Madrassas were geo-tagged in Punjab during this period adding to the previous number of 13,798 Madrassas in Punjab that were geo-tagged during the first two years.

The geo-tagging of all Madrassas involves storing the coordinates of the Madrassa, its pictures, along with information pertaining to number of students (divided into boarders and non-boarders), and name of the person with whom the property is registered, However, while the Government can take fingerprints of a person in the 4th Schedule, the CTD is not legally empowered to take fingerprints of students of teachers of Madrassas.

After carrying out an extensive survey, the Punjab Government, in its database, also made a category of Madrassas from which any of their student or teacher was actively involved in terrorism.

As far as registration of new Madrassas in concerned, the CTD Punjab has the role of granting a Non Objection Certificate (NoC) before the Madrassa can be registered. During this period, the CTD Punjab received a total of 39 applications for granting of NoC out of which it recommended only one for registration.

There is little visible evidence to suggest that there have been any positive strides in the area of uniform curriculum development of Madrassas. As long as the content being taught in Madrassas is not closely scrutinised and problematic themes not corrected, radicalisation will continue to take root in society.

The work on geo-tagging of Madrassas as well as stringent process of NoCs for opening new Madressas in Punjab shows substantial progress achieved on this NAP point. The implementation process has worked relatively well. Improvements should be made.

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NAP Point No. 11: Ban on glorification of terrorist and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media

It may be noted that regulation of electronic media pertains to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government as Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority is the body tasked to deal with this matter.

As far as action on print media is concerned, there is little data available on instances on glorification of terrorists in Punjab and the resultant action by the Provincial Government.

The implementation process has remained relatively poor on this point.

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NAP Point No. 12: Administrative and development reforms in FATA with immediate focus on repatriation of IDPs

This point pertains to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and therefore not included in this Monitor.

 

NAP Point No. 13: Communication network of terrorists will be dismantled completely

While the major part of this NAP point pertains to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, the Punjab Government has deployed human intelligence over the province as well as carrying out surveillance of Punjab’s entry and exit points.

During this period, the CTD Punjab has dismantled the network of Jammat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) in Punjab.

A difficulty that law enforcement agencies are encountering in Punjab at present involves the Investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013, a Federal law. Under it, the procedure for a law enforcing agency to obtain a warrant for surveillance or interception is cumbersome in which a report has to be presented to the Minister for Interior and only after approval can the application for issuance of warrant be made to a judge. [22] While such procedures are meant to protect against the abuse of power by law enforcing agencies, the procedure may be amended in such a way that it is effective in both empowering law enforcing agencies as well as keeping a check on them.

The implementation process has worked well. Some improvements are needed.

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NAP Point No. 14: Measures against abuse of social media for terrorism

Banned outfits continue to operate on social media with impunity. According to an investigation carried out by Dawn throughout April 2017, 41 banned organisations nationwide have a presence on Facebook in the form of pages, groups, and user profiles. [23]Among them, the biggest presence is of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) with 200 pages and groups, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) with 160 pages and groups, Sipah-i-Sahaba (SSP) with 148 pages and groups, Baloch Student Organization Azad (BSO-A) with 54 pages and groups, and Sipah-e-Muhammad with 45 pages and groups. [24]

Reportedly, FIA officials lack the expertise to monitor the social media or investigate cases related to it while only it has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate offences related to cyber terrorism. The Federal Government has yet to amend the rules governing the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 to allow the CTD Punjab and Police to investigate cases related to cyber terrorism.

However, despite this impediment, the CTD Punjab has taken action against abuse of social media under the Anti Terrorism Act. The CTD has carried out 20 arrests (34 in 2015-2016 to 20) and 20 cases registered (33 in 2015-2016 to 20) with relation to this NAP Point, which are 4.8 and 4.7 times respectively more than the previous two. The number of convictions at 19 convictions, with rate of convictions being 95 per cent compared to 35 per cent (12 convicted in 34 arrests) in the past two years shows good status of progress. [25]

The implementation process has worked relatively well. Improvements should be made.

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NAP Point No. 15: Zero-tolerance for militancy in Punjab

Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) have been deplo


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