Pakistan drafts first policy to counter violent extremism after Si Lankan’s lynching

Islamabad: Pakistan has formulated its first policy to prevent and counter violent extremism.

Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has drafted the national counter violent extremism policy (NCVEP 2021). The authority’s national coordinator Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak has submitted the policy draft to Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed for approval. NACTA officials described the draft as “a major national policy document that would keep on evolving and improving” in the days ahead.

The policy to counter extremism has been formulated under the country’s counter-terrorism strategy called National Action Plan (NAP) that NACTA recently helped revise in consultation with stakeholders.

The draft policy comprises two parts. The first part outlines the key elements of the policy while the second details the national implementation and institutionalisation plan of the policy defining the roles and responsibilities of various organisations and stake-holders.

The policy will include a system to monitor the policy targets with key perfor-mance indicators.

Before finalising the draft, the NACTA held provincial consultations with representatives of various segments of society including academics, journalists, other professionals, and civil society members during the last three months. The draft includes observations and comments of more than 250 relevant experts from federal and provincial governments.

The policy has been finalised soon after Pakistan witnessed horrific vigilante violence in the name of faith in which a Sri Lankan factory manager was lynched to death by a mob in Sialkot after being falsely accused of blasphemy. Following the attack, the government is considering effective and collaborative measures to prevent and counter violent extremism. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced strict action against those committing violence in the name of religion. Khan also called for concerted action of the state, religious communities, teachers, civil society and the media to root out the scourge of extremism from society.