NACTA’s Counter Extremism Policy Guidelines- a sound endeavour for peace in society

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By Shahid Ali Butt

ISLAMABAD, May 11(APP): Implementation of National Counter Terrorism Authority’s (NACTA) counter extremism policy guidelines have restored the lost peace of the country and will lead the nation to prosperity and sovereignty.
Sacrifices rendered by the security agencies with full support of people have helped the country to win its fight against terrorism.
Pakistan has now overcome long and dark decades of terrorist victimization and instead of letting detractors define its identity, the country has showed strength and perseverance of its people through political leadership who stood united in dealing with this menace and turned around picture from `Victim to Victor of Terrorism.’
The varied forms of violent extremism and terrorism more than two decades, experienced in many areas around the globe, have not even spared Pakistan which faced numerous woes largely emerged because of factors not of its choice.
Pakistan’s geographical location and associated regional stress-lines have made the country vulnerable. A lot of sweat and blood has gone into this herculean effort.
For Pakistan, much success has already been achieved owing to myriad sacrifices made by its people and the security forces. A discernable downward trend has been witnessed in terrorism incidents which have reached 750 in 2017 as compared to 2,060 attacks in 2010.
National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) with support of political leadership was endeavouring to make Pakistan a country free from extremism and violence.
Besides, implementing 20-point National Action Plan (NAP), the Authority also introduced some steps including National Counter Extremism Policy Guidelines (NCEPG), prepared as a long term mechanism to address violent extremism and organized terror which threatens the country.
The Guidelines, approved by the government, project an effective and inclusive role for different State and Society’s agencies through an Action Plan to improve reach and delivery of required services to citizens.
Shedding light on salient features, National Coordinator NACTA, Ihsan Ghani said, “The guidelines will be cornerstone of country’s response to non-traditional threats and to deal with extremist ideology.
The draft was prepared in consultation with academia, ulemas and the media after 18-month strenuous efforts.
It envisages a guidance framework for formulating policy responses by federal and provincial stakeholders to counter violent extremism. It is founded on a whole of government and society approach for formulation and realization of these guidelines.
He said it was embedded strictly in context of Pakistani society with an indigenous approach towards problem and solution identification.
“The national narrative depicts consensus and resolve of our nation for its future progression and describes Pakistan’s true values. The guidelines cover areas like service delivery, people’s engagement, education reforms, enabling environment, rehabilitation, reintegration and renunciation and also promotion of culture.”
The guidelines are not formed in a vacuum rather a multi-disciplinary policymaking model was followed.
Ihsan Ghani said,” NACTA believes that these are bed-rock for joining hearts and minds and in putting an end to supply side of extremism since it is a war of ideas. A whole of society and government approach is spirit of CONNECT, where people and government comes together to deny space and air to terrorists and extremists.”
The guidelines include formulation of projects for promoting welfare of minorities and strengthening women rights, inter-provincial cultural interactions and cultural industrial hubs, entrenching democratic traditions and values.
Objective is to connect people to people and people to government.
It aims to end isolation and will lead to development of integrated communities which are less vulnerable to influence of terrorist elements.
These are also not envisioned to be static rather monitoring and evaluation based course corrections by concerned stakeholders are at the heart of these guidelines. It also includes an implementation plan.
“Our sacrifices are innumerable, our losses painful, our history written with brave blood, and our resilient society stands together to counter and banish extremism from our environment and our lives,” he maintained.
“I hope the everyday life in fear is replaced with a life of hope and prosperity for our state and society which is possible through a mind-shift by joining hands together by state and society, thus a whole of society and government strategy for peace, inclusion, co-existence, and hopefulness,” he said.
National Coordinator also highlighted other initiatives and said NACTA was working on development of terrorist profiling under a well-thought-out strategy.
“As part of its ongoing Tat’heer drive, NACTA has initiated app available on Google and Apple to enable citizens to anonymously report extremist content, hate speech, banners, activities wherever they notice them in their areas and also on Internet,” he said.
He said, “Surfsafe Online Portal has already been inaugurated to enable citizens to report extremist content online freely, securely and anonymously and be part of this national cause curbing terrorism and extremism sprawling through Internet.”
The preparation of document reflects dedicated efforts towards a single objective of producing a strategy for peace and harmony in society.