A national CTD
Pakistan needs a national CTD to alleviate the provincial police’s burden and ensure clarity of purpose. PAKISTAN has long fought extremism, insurgency, and terrorism. Numerous legal, administrative, and political measures have been taken since 9/11, but despite a vast counter-terrorism (CT) apparatus, goals have yet to be achieved. In practice, terrorism has interprovincial, state, and international connections, so provinces alone cannot prevent or combat it.
Over the past two decades, provincial counter-terrorism departments (CTDs) have been created, and in 2009 a National CTD Counter-Terrorism Agency (Nacta) was established at the federal level.
Traditionally, the center develops security policy, while the operational side is managed by federal and provincial agencies. National Homeland Security Policy I, NISP II, NAP I, and NAP II are federal policies.
Nacta, Pemra, FIA, PTA, ANF, ASF, FBR, State Bank, and IB are federal institutions. The Anti-Terrorism Act, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Electronic Crimes Prevention Act 2016, Nacta Act, and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947 are federal laws.
After every major terrorist attack, the media questions Nacta’s effectiveness, damaging its credibility. Nacta is a think tank and an apparatus for coordination, exchange of information, and intelligence between the center and the provinces. It was not designed as an investigative or operational anti-terrorist agency.
We need a centralized response to activism.
To achieve this, it is necessary to amend the Nacta law and set up a national CTD, an anti-terrorist department with the power to investigate ATA crimes in all provinces. The NCTD should be led by the IGP, which has best served in conflict zones, is familiar with the dynamics of the CT, and will report to the country coordinator, Nacta.
It should have the power to investigate and prosecute planned offenses and undertake prosecution of cases at the request of the Provincial CPCs. The federal government can also direct the NCTD to conduct investigations into planned crimes.
After the 18th amendment, however, one can defend oneself against the creation of the NCTD. Provinces could react negatively and ask for a favorable judicial interpretation. Different political governments at the provincial and federal levels may affect CT-related Central-Provincial relations. Human rights organizations can also object to the extended competence of the NCTD.
Opponents of the NCTD under the guise of provincial autonomy should take into account existing dependence on federal agencies, which makes the presence of a federal agency in CT matters logical. A synchronized and centralized response would be more effective. However, this is not possible without constitutional, legal, and procedural changes.
In the face of the rise of activists, political polarization, and financial constraints, the founding of NCTD seems a noble ideal. However, it is worth looking at how this can be done. The first option might be to keep provincial CTDs and set up NCTDs with newly defined functions.
The second option would be to merge all CTDs, keep the best available talent and transfer the rest to the OPP. Making NCTD a reality requires provincial generosity and center financial generosity. Another option could be an NCTD that only has investigative, coordinating, and information-sharing functions.
The establishment of the NCTD will bring the civilian counter-terrorism unit under one roof and avoid institutional duplication. Bringing the CT into the federal arena will bring clarity to the purpose and unity of command.
A dedicated NCTD will relieve the PPO and allow it to focus on crime prevention, detection, and public service. The NCTD could also facilitate international counter-terrorism cooperation and cooperation with anti-terrorist agencies of friendly countries.
Our civilian CT model is primarily digital and relies on borrowed information. The challenges require immediate information sharing, effective planning, coordination, technology-driven solutions, e-governance, and a national CTD standardization.
Before the traffic police, traffic security, and control were neglected areas. Initially, it was responsible for 365 kilometers, extending to 4,696 km, with a further extension of 4,230 km underway.
Despite the increase in car traffic since the establishment of the traffic police, the number of traffic accidents is declining. Even if there is a lot of talk about state autonomy and the Federal Police should enforce the Road Traffic Safety Act, why shouldn’t a national CTD be a federal domain?
In order to secure funding, the matter can be discussed in the CPI and in Parliament. As it also necessitates a major shared financial outlay, it could be considered during the finalization of the next NFC award.