May 04 , 2017
Internal security policy, parliamentary oversight demanded
ISLAMABAD: The counter-terrorism experts have called for formulation of comprehensive internal security policy which must be given oversight by the parliamentary committee on national security.
“The people sitting at the helm of affairs overseeing the counter-terrorism and violent extremism issues must adopt a holistic internal security policy which is need of the hour,” the experts unanimously said during the working group session on “Internal security and challenges”, the tenth in a series of sessions aimed at countering violent extremism, organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank.
The participants also showed their concern regarding the radicalisation of police force with particular reference to Mumtaz Qadri.
A former police chief disclosed that Mumtaz Qadri was sent to police lines when he was part of the security of Tariq Pervaiz, a former Director General of FIA with his note that he had some extremist tendencies so he should not be assigned any sensitive duty including the security of important persons. Former IG who himself remained the chief of FIA added that despite the note of Tariq Pervaiz, he (Mumtaz Qadri) got him assigned the security duty of the Punjab governor and rest is history.
The experts present in the conference were of the view that the country faces multiple internal security challenges. Instead of coming with reactive, piecemeal responses, a consolidated internal security policy be devised, which articulates the roadmap towards addressing those challenges. Only then can violent extremism of all shades be extirpated from the society.
The group called for revisiting the entire approach and vision of the internal security, moving beyond the reactive response to any militant attack. The new should adopt some sort of conceptual framework to produce internal security policy, the key ingredients of which shall counter extremism, militancy, and organized crimes; curb separatist tendencies; warn about the internal fallout of strategic priorities; govern cyber space’s; and secure the country’s borders. More so, members argued this revised framework shall even incorporate elements from human security.
Several suggestions came up to implement this framework. One, parliament shall take lead in overseeing internal security policy; specifically, parliamentary committee on national security shall, among other things, re-assess strategic priorities and mainstream marginalised areas and community. It was shared that while extremists find space in marginalised areas where normal application of law is missing, they often target the marginalised communities.
The suggested internal security policy shall incorporate key counter-terror initiatives like National Action Plan, though after revising it first.
Overall, all institutions, the group suggested, should be made to coordinate with each other, bringing in some sort of accountability mechanisms in case of any lapse. One specific suggestion was to review the ways in which different institutions perceive the threat, to learn gaps therein and correct them. Several members called for civilian law-enforcement agencies to take the lead in any drive against militancy. Their capacity can be built. To repose trust in the internal security policy, the group called, this policy shall incorporate fundamental human rights among its principles.
The group reiterated that justice and governance reforms are must to eliminate extremism in the long run. Members reminded that NAP calls for reconciling dissident Baloch; this point shall be implemented.
Members who attended the session included Tariq Khosa, former Inspector General of Police (IGP); Afrasiab Khattak, former senator; Dr. Khalid Masud, ex-chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology; Dr Qibla Ayaz, former Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar; Ammar Khan Nasir, religious scholar; Fayyaz Toru, former IGP; Gen (R) Masood Aslam, defence analyst; Dr Suhail Habib Tajik; Gen (R) Talat Masood, defence analyst; Muhammad Ziauddin, senior journalist; Ziaur Rehman, researcher; Sabookh Syed, journalist; columnists Zahid Hussain and Marvi Sirmed, columnist; Syed Arfeen, Geo TV; and Muhammad Amir Rana, director, PIPS.