Pakistanis have been informed that there will be a new security paradigm that would drive the policy and strategy of the federal and provincial governments in countering terrorism and extremism. This is good news for Pakistanis given the high levels of insecurity as well as repeated attacks on the state and its key institutions. Nearly 50,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives in the last decade including thousands of security personnel. While the ruling party underplayed the issue of terrorism during its election campaign, two months in power have demonstrated that governing Pakistan without a redefined national security paradigm will not be possible. Sixty terror attacks in first two months could shake any government let alone a civilian administration that enjoys support in the parliament.
One of the key features of the National Security Policy (NSP) will be the establishment of a Joint Intelligence Secretariat, which will comprise all civilian and military intelligence agencies, with the primary job of coordinating intelligence operations and sources of information. The Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar has assured that the secretariat will start working within six to seven months.
The NSP will also establish a Counterterrorism Rapid Deployment Force at the Federal level, which will eventually be replicated at the provincial levels. Staffed with serving and retired military personnel, this force will be 500 strong and over time shall increase to 2000 serving personnel, with the primary job of securing and responding quickly to terror threats.
The lame duck institution, National Counterterrorism Authority (NACTA) is being envisaged to act as a focal point of the new security policy. Increasing its capacity and making it fully operational has rightly been identified as one of the first few steps.
The NSP will also be divided into two broad sections: one that deals with internal threats and another that deals with foreign threats. The draft NSP also aim to deweaponize Quetta, while at the same time providing police in Balochistan with over 5000 SMGs and the requisite training to use them in fighting terrorist and sectarian elements.