ASIAOPINION

Proscribed organizations and internal security of Pakistan

Saima Ali

Pakistan is facing various kinds of terrorization; both traditional and non-traditional such as extremism, sectarian violence, separatist movements, political and economic instability, terrorism, and feudalism are the traditional internal threats linked with external factors. These activities are going on in different parts of the country. Many other security agencies of different states are trying their best to destabilize Pakistan, wherever possible.

The idea of proscribed organizations was introduced, whereby governments would draw up a list of organizations connected with terrorism and would then proceed to taking action against these groups under the ATA’s steps of procedure. These organizations are continuously challenging the internal security of the state, territorial integrity and are jeopardizing the accomplishment of its national interests. Much of these proscribed organizations may not be directly involved in terrorist activities but play an important role in fostering, promoting, supporting and glorifying terrorism.

In addition, there are also proven evidences of the foreign involvement in these activities.  Like the terrorist and insurgent activities in Baluchistan are threats to Pakistan’s internal Security. According to the foreign office of Pakistan, the militancy in Baluchistan is gaining support from foreign players especially our Eastern neighbor. Separatist movements in Sind and Baluchistan added by sectarian violence are posing credible threats to Pakistan’s internal security.

Pakistan has lost 35000 lives and $118 billion in the war on terror. In 2015, Pakistan has formally declared 212 outfits as proscribed organizations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs banned 171 organizations, while the Interior Ministry banned 60 more organizations. One can perceive the proscribed list on NACTA website from Lashkar-e Jhangvi, Sipah-e Muhammad which were proscribed in year 2001 to recently proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), which was been put on the watch list by the interior ministry in 2015.  It was already enlisted under UNSCR 1267 along Al- Akhtar and Al –Rashid Trust organizations. Finally this year Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor while putting ban on (JuD) stated that the decision to put Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest “is a policy decision”.

It is to notify that Pakistan’s list of proscribed organizations was not available to the general public up until very recently, while in justice, alerting the people to the organizations that threatened them should have been the first step in countering terrorism. The list should be readily available on the websites of NACTA, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, Ministry of States and Frontier Regions as well as on those of the Home Departments of all provinces, territories, arms licenses issuing authorities, passport-issuing authorities, immigration authorities, State Bank of Pakistan and all commercial banks.

The lack of an authentic list leads to ambiguity in response of the government as well as the public. This confusion should be got over come.  The lack of authentic lists of banned militant organizations as well as their members, leads to indistinctness in the response of the government as well as the public. Therefore ensuring effective prevention of the re-emergence of banned militant organizations publicizing these lists is an essential requirement.

There is a need for publishing specific reasons for the proscription of each proscribed organization. These reasons should include the terrorist acts or assistance activities carried out by these organizations. To choke the funding of banned outfits, the government should educate the people against donating the groups and enhance the capacity of FIA to detect and investigate cases of terrorist financing. Hate material publication of proscribed organizations to be restricted and media personnel propagating the views of proscribed organizations to be prosecuted.

Furthermore, a nationwide approach, backed by political will, is required to curb and destroy these banned outfits from grass roots level. There is a need to have a proper organization at the federal level to monitor the status of the ban implementation. One such organization could be National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA). It should be strengthened along NAP. As it provide for the execution of convicted terrorists, establishment of military-led speedy trial courts, action against armed militias and the strengthening and activation of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). National Action Plan should have timelines for achieving any of the goals the Plan also should mention those who will implement it or monitor its progress.

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Saima Ali

Saima Ali is a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute and can be reached at saima@thesvi.org

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