The draft that gave birth to the twenty points in 2014 after the heinous incident of the Army Public School attack directed Pakistan to target terrorism in its own war. The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) shouldered to execute those points at different levels of implementation and execution in Pakistan under the title of the National Action Plan (NAP). It is high time to contemplate the security landscape of Pakistan. The potential threat to the security of Pakistan emanates not only from outside or border areas of Pakistan but also from within the country itself. The NAP 2014 represented an integrated accumulation of risk areas and strategies for combating the country’s vulnerability to extremism and terrorism. On the other hand, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) agreement is not the end of the outfit’s aggressive design. Rather, it is an assurance that they would be accepted as stakeholders in future decision-making. This act has cast serious scepticism over the intentions of the federal government in terms of its willingness to implement the NAP in its full letter and spirit, pushing the country to a dead-end where the society will have no choice but to accept mob mentality over the rule, violence over principles, fear over peace and power over stability. Prime Minister Imran Khan practically went against the execution of NAP by executing an agreement with the TLP. The immediate effect of the agreement was the lifting of the ban on the organisation. This is going to be a bad precedent in the future.
Essentially, the government is not realising its far-reaching consequences in a society where street justice and mob mentality are prevalent. The current handling of this matter has pushed the country one step closer towards the brink of the spread of religious intolerance and extremism in the society. Moreover, the apparatus of civil administration like the police will take it as a receding step and ignorance towards their sacrifices made during all this saga. It can trigger a ripple effect among the police and other institutions that can impact their professional resolve by inducing a sense of being “left-outs”. This indicates one of the basic reasons behind the inefficiency of our state institutions. The government may take the excuse of the state’s holistic approach, but one should not forget that behind this pretence, the government has forgotten the lost lives in the wake of terrorism and extremism, and the APS massacre of 2014 which was the pinnacle of it. Now, the sitting government is heading towards the end of its tenure and its performance on different fronts, including the economy, reforms, foreign policy, and anti-corruption campaign, has remained debatable and controversial.
Moreover, the apparatus of civil administration like the police will take it as a receding step and ignorance towards their sacrifices made during all this saga. It can trigger a ripple effect among the police and other institutions that can impact their professional resolve by inducing a sense of being “left-outs”.
If this government is going to display the same hodgepodge of contradictory statements among cabinet ministers and strike secret agreements with the protestors, it would not only damage the already dented impression of the PTI but also cost the country a lot. The seriousness of a country towards internal stability and its showcase of an external image, to garner not only business but also a good perception, matters in this age of hybrid warfare. Thus, one may infer that the PTI government has polluted the internal security environment and tarnished the image of the country externally by not going hard with the TLP. As mentioned earlier, the government has a myopic vision of its actions. In the long term, the current agreement substantiates the impending fracture of a society that is already sunk into the ebbs of intolerance based on religious extremism. It is going to affect the rubric of society adversely by giving space to mob mentality. The conceived points in the NAP will not take root because the highest office has chosen to give impunity to religious fanatics who seek to exploit religion for their gain. Now that the TLP has achieved its objective by taking its name off the proscribed organisation’s list, its goal is to contest future elections.
The incumbent leader Saad Hussain Rizvi, of the party is more energetic, fervent, and aware of the fact that he can channelise the energies of his followers to his advantage. The government should understand that the writ of the authority matters a lot at times, especially during discussions when the society feels like it is being taken as a hostage repeatedly in the hands of a specific group. One cannot leave such elements in the society to spread their ideologies unchecked.
The handling of the TLP’s recent march towards Islamabad explicitly lacks political will. The role of the government becomes strictly questionable over the implementation of the NAP 2014. Particularly, when stakeholders were trying to evaluate and revise the existing draft. Hence, one can get a clue that failures do not exist only at the ground level., Failures also start at the top levels in the country, where will must be paramount to execute any plan towards its end, and the NAP is no exception.