Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has blasted his predecessor Imran Khan for failing to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) during his tenure and said it had led to a sharp increase in terrorist activity in the country. He said his government was assessing the situation from the very first day of the swearing-in and assured the compatriots to restore the NAP at the earliest. The Pakistani Prime Minister’s acknowledgment came against the backdrop of a report by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) which claimed that the country had seen a 56% increase in terrorist activities over the past the last year. According to the report, militants carried out 294 attacks, killing 388 people and injuring 606 others in 2021.
Prime Minister Shehbaz, who chaired a law and order meeting in Lahore on Sunday, said: “The role of the provinces in the national action plan will be restored, which did not exist for the last four years” and added that due to ignorance of the role of the provinces in the NAP, terrorism has increased over the past four years. According to The Express Tribune, the prime minister accused the previous regime of ignoring the importance of the action plan. He accused Khan of offering carte blanche to terrorism. It is worth mentioning that the country witnessed one of the horrific incidents in December 2014, in which a terrorist attack on a public army school killed at least almost 150 people. According to Pakistani media, around 132 children were killed in the deadly attack.
Subsequently, a national consensus emerged to crack down on terrorists through a concerted national effort. Within a week, Pakistan’s Home Ministry, in consultation with all stakeholders, had also endorsed a 20-point NAP to combat terrorism and extremism. However, this could not affect the determination of the terrorists and the country witnessed several deadly attacks. According to Sharif, the NAP had spelled out details of the counter-terrorism campaign in the country involving provincial governments, which was allegedly ignored by the Imran Khan-led government.
Pakistan remains on FATF’s ‘grey list’
Also, during the meeting, Pakistani media reported that Sharif had expressed concern over the increase in street crime. Notably, the meeting was also significant as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, had said the country would continue to be on the FATF’s “grey list”. . He noted that Islamabad could be removed from the list after a site visit to verify the implementation of its reforms on countering terrorist financing mechanisms.
“Pakistan is not removed from the gray list today. It will be if the on-site visit concludes that its actions are sustainable,” said outgoing FATF President Marcus Pleyer.