[image: PHOTO: MUHAMMAD UMAIR/EXPRESS]
ISLAMABAD: The new national security policy launched a day before the government completed its tenure has revealed about the emergence of Da’esh in close proximity to Pakistan, which has raised new internal security challenges.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal released National Internal Security Policy 2018-2023 at a press conference in the Ministry of Planning Division. “Threat of transnational terrorist groups has grown significantly in the past few years as recent reports suggest that Da’esh is establishing a footprint in the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan,” the report states. The report also adds that the potential for spillover in Pakistan with the support and collaboration of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its offshoots is not a possibility to be ignored.
Likewise it also adds that the situation has been compounded by the return of battle-hardened militants from Syria and Iraq. “Secondly, there is adequate evidence that radicalisation and militancy is no longer limited to Madrassahs alone,” it says, adding that young people from relatively affluent and middle-class backgrounds, educated in mainstream universities and schools are also vulnerable to extremist ideas and narratives. In addition to that, terrorism is as much an urban phenomenon as rural, and needs to be tackled as such.
Lastly, cyber space has emerged as a key domain for the spread of extremist ideas, it concludes. *Achievements*
While talking about the achievements to curb the menace of terrorism and extremism, the report states that number of steps had been taken to choke terror financing, including the establishment of a National Task Force on Combating Financing of Terrorism—a coordinating body of over 20 federal and provincial organisations.
Moreover, 66 organisations were proscribed with 7,966 individuals placed under watch as of March 2018. Over 90 per cent geo-mapping of religious seminaries (madrassahs) has been completed across the country while efforts to introduce wide-ranging madrassah reforms are underway. Steps were taken to accord special protection to places of worship in general, and especially for those belonging to minority communities.
Interfaith and intra-faith dialogue has been facilitated while sacrilegious literature and speeches preaching hate against other faiths have been curbed. There has also been a very considerable success in reducing sectarian violence, the report remarks.
Security has drastically improved in Karachi, the financial and trading heart of the country. The evidence for this is a 97 per cent decrease in target killings, 87 per cent in the murder rate, 84 per cent in business extortion and 72 per cent in bank robberies. Steps were taken to facilitate the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland.
Over 1.38 million Afghan refugees have been registered under the Tripartite Agreement for Voluntary Repatriation, the most extensive voluntary repatriation program recorded by the UNHCR.
Rehabilitation of internally displaced persons and revival of economic activity in conflict-affected areas such as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is being prioritised. The constitutional amendment for the merger of Fata with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was approved. “Despite sporadic incidents of violence, the overall security situation in Balochistan has improved.”
*The policy* The policy states that “it is meant to be a federal framework for internal security and will guide the security policy at all levels of governance.”
Recognising the enhanced role of provinces in policy implementation in the wake of the 18th amendment, the input of all provincial governments through respective home departments was obtained for the formulation of this policy. Many of the recommendations proposed in the policy fall within the domain of provincial governments.
Provincial governments are expected to devise their detailed strategies on various elements of the released framework by adapting it to their specific needs, requirements and priorities.
The first ever National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2014 was formulated with a four-year horizon, and NISP 2018-2023 takes forward the previous policy plan by incorporating both the lessons learnt and the updated security profile of the country, which has seen new dangers emerge. As a result, NISP 2018 now focuses on three main domains:
Administrative (strengthening the ability of the state to respond to security issues); Ideational (challenging the ideological underpinnings of extremist narratives); Socio-Economic (addressing the deprivations that create breeding ground for security challenges to emerge). “The NISP has been developed as a tribute to secure the sacrifices made by law enforcement agencies of the military and civilian sides to secure the life, prosperity and security of ordinary Pakistanis in combatting the wave of terror that had embattled Pakistan earlier.”
The announcement of NISP 2018 at this stage is also intended to provide a platform to capture the learning process the state has undergone in answering its festering security issues over the past decade, and to provide any incoming national or provincial governments.
The implementing process of NISP 2018 allows flexibility for the new national and provincial governments to amend this strategy according to their own mandate and for emerging needs as they arise.
The NISP 2018 sees security as a product of achieving both peace and the development of the country. To achieve this, it has four broad objectives: creating structures for the enforcement of the rule of law.
To achieve the objectives and vision of NISP 2018-2023 the policy has a 6R strategy (re-imagine, reconcile, redistribute, recognise, regional approach and reorient facets of the state and how it interfaces with its citizens). The policy provides 120 measures however, key priority areas as well as those required in the short, medium or long term have been identified to help efficient resource allocation.
An elaborate implementation plan has been developed that includes for the first time in any government policy, the indicators to measure progress.