- Sources say NACTA co-ordinator resigned owing to lack of funds, tussle between Interior Ministry and Prime Minister Secretariat and non-cooperation of security agencies in sharing intelligence information
With the government focusing on expensive infrastructural projects such as Islamabad Metro Bus Project and now the Orange Line in Lahore, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), which does not even have the basic staffing required for functioning, is continuing to await government’s attention.
Documents available with Pakistan Today show that the federal government has ignored NACTA in the budget for 2015-16 as no funds have been allocated for the authority in the PSDP.
According to an Interior Ministry official, ministry estimated Rs 32 billion outlay for implementation of First National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and re-re-activation of NACTA. However, the federal budget for 2014-15 reduced allocations from Rs 95 million to Rs 92 million, out of which Rs 63 million were allocated for administrative and salary-related expenses.
A senior official at NACTA has claimed that a “civil-military divide” was also at work. “The army is leading the initiative thus far and the political government perhaps wants it to be seen as an army venture and avoid backlash from the militants,” he claimed.
“Intelligence cooperation is a major issue across the world as the agencies are reluctant to share information with others. In Pakistan, this is even more complicated as the leading Intel agencies are run by the military while civilian control is minimal,” he said, claiming that the creation of Joint Intelligence Directorate (JID) faces “resistance within the state organs”. Only Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief can resolve this issue, he further said.
According USIP’s special report titled “Charting Pakistan’s Internal Security Policy”, the new internal security plans call for the establishment of a JID under NACTA, through which all intelligence agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), will share intelligence information with other law enforcement organisations of the federal and provincial governments.
The ISI has reportedly been reluctant to share information with NACTA because it is sensitive about the security of intelligence coming from its sources, which include military-oriented intelligence, sources said.
“The Joint Intelligence Directorate never got off the ground reportedly because the military does not want to cede that turf to the civilians,” said a senior security analyst.
The JID is in fact a reworked version of a NISP plan to create the Directorate of Internal Security with staff from civil and military branches of the government, it has been learnt.
Its specialised wings were meant to share intelligence on internal security threats and to monitor cybercrimes, border control and immigration, financial trails, money laundering, Interpol coordination, and international cooperation, the report stated, adding that the most crucial task of the envisaged DIS was to provide early warnings to law enforcement agencies of terror threats and the suspect militant groups.
The government has yet to fully operationalise the JID as “defacto arrangements” of military intelligence outfits leading counterterrorism operations continue, it said.
In the meanwhile, Interior Ministry’s spokesperson said on Monday that NACTA Co-ordinator Hamid Ali Khan had resigned from his post as he was not feeling well. However, he will continue working till the appointment of a new head, the spokesperson said, adding that he was deputed by the prime minister on November 9, 2014.
However, sources in NACTA told Pakistan Today that he resigned from the post due to numerous other factors including lack of funds, tussle between the Interior Ministry and Prime Minister Secretariat and due to non co-operation of the security agencies in sharing intelligence information.