Role of provinces to be restored to curb extremism, Pakistan PM says

Islamabad: Pakistan’s prime minister has said that the role of provincial governments in the implementation of the National Action Plan would be restored to combat terrorism.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said there had been a surge in terror incidents in Pakistan during the last four years as the role of provinces in implementing a comprehensive 20-point plan to counter extremism has remained neglected.

The prime minister made the remarks while presiding over a meeting in Lahore to review the security situation across the country.

“Our struggle will go on until the elimination of terrorism. The government will never compromise Pakistan’s security and defence,” the prime minister said.

The provinces were required to make legal, judicial, police and madrassas reforms, ban hate literature, and ensure de-weaponization under the NAP but that did not happen, the local media reported.

The 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) for countering terrorism and extremism was devised by NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) after the 2014 Army Public School Peshawar massacre in which terrorists killed 142 people, among them 132 were children.

The prime minister’s concerns about the increase in terrorist attacks in the past few years were based on a report by the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). The report concluded that “Pakistan has witnessed a 56 per cent surge in militant attacks during the year 2021 despite a one-month ceasefire by TTP” after a consistent decline in militant attacks for six years.

The PICSS report data showed that the “militants have carried out 294 attacks in 2021 in which 395 people were killed including 186 civilians”. At least 192 security forces personnel while 629 people were injured including 400 civilians and 217 security forces personnel, the report said. Meanwhile, Pakistani security forces killed some 188 militants and arrested at least 222 suspected militants during the last year.