11182017Headline:

Internal Security by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

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During the election campaign most political parties made tall claims that the life of people will change if they are elected. To emphasize this point, national leaders promised that they will provide a road map to heaven within first 100 days of their taking oath of office. The realty is that since the close of polls almost every week a major terrorist attack is carried by the killers who roam free throughout the country. Since May 11th there was the murder of an MPA in Mardan; attack on Bolan Medical College and Women University in Quetta; suicide bomb attack on a funeral prayer in Mardan killing another elected MPA along with scores of other people; attack on a mosque in Peshawar during Friday prayers; a group of 50 armed men riding motorcycles opening fire on passersby and killing four people in Karachi; cold-blooded murder of 11 international climbers in Gilgit-Baltistan; and finally twin suicide bomb attacks on an imam bargah in Quetta. To show defiance to the federation there was a brazen attack on Ziarat Residence of Quaid which is the national symbol of our State. While the terrorists and criminals of all stripes and colors are collaborating with each other to weaken the state, those that are provided mandate to protect lives and property of citizens are divided on how to tackle this issue. Educated, moderate and seemingly intelligent leaders are using escapism to blame all terrorism on drone strikes and unseen foreign hand. They refuse to accept that state apparatus is inept and incapable and that it is our own citizens that mastermind and execute these criminal acts. There may be foreign support but traitors are living among us and we are not willing to recognize that fact.

Before I suggest some ideas on how to tackle the crisis of terrorism, I want to share a real life story that can help us understand the situation a little better. Few months before the elections, 11 people were killed, both Sunnis & Shia, in a bomb blast. As a political activist I decided it is important to visit the affected families and share their sorrow. I met a brother who told me that he can understand that collateral damage in drone strikes in FATA can produce terrorists. But his real sorrow was that there were people living and settled in cities that are our neighbors. These people provide accommodation and food to these terrorists. He was sad that these people show them the streets and explain to them the intricate details of a city that only a local is aware of. He was concerned that we don’t have the justice system and social repercussion against these local supporters. He was sure that soon they will play host to the next suicide bomber and a next wave of relatives will be mourning death of their brothers.

This is the state of affairs and it requires a national consensus to subdue this multi-headed monster. It requires collaboration and coordination between the provinces and the center. It requires education of the nation about their responsibility to protect each other. Here are some ideas that might be beneficial.

A monthly coordination meeting chaired by PM and includes all Chief Ministers, central interior minister, provincial minister responsible for law & order, IGs of all four provinces, DG ISI, DG IB and DG MI should be mandated. The agenda of the meeting should be to discuss list of creditable threats from intelligence chiefs; resource allocation and requirement reports by IGs including posting of personnel to protect these threats from materializing. After each meeting, Federal Interior Minister should brief the press about the outcome of the meeting so that they can inform the nation to watch out for clues and take precautionary measures.

My friend who served in the rangers told me that in many cases whenever they chase a criminal it ends up in the house of an influential person. It is important that PM and CMs should make it clear to police officers that no one is above the law and that their careers/lives are protected against backlash by any connected person. An influential person that is involved in protecting a criminal should be included as a co-conspirator in the case and charged accordingly. Fear of law is a significant barrier to control criminal behavior. Our police are capable of rooting out the crimes if they get the respect and support of the community and their higher officers. Every policeman should be given refresher training on regular basis. For example, one month training for every two years of service. A policemen fund should be established in which citizens should make donations towards maintaining families of those killed in the line of duty.

In Karachi, Sindh High Court Justice Baqar was targeted by terrorists because he was making judgments against them. He barely survived this brazen attack despite heavy protection of rangers and police. Imagine a witness who has no protection from these criminals. In this situation, will any person with sanity come forward and give evidence against hardcore criminals. It is important that we make amendments to the constitution to provide protection to the witnesses and judges. Anyone targeting a witness or a judge should be classified as a terrorist and tried by terrorist courts with a speedy trial.

It may come as a surprise to many but video evidence captured on cctv cameras is not admissible in a Pakistani court of law. This need to change and video evidence should be made admissible. It is very critical as a lot of close circuit and security camera footage is available to identify and charge criminals.

New classification of crimes is required to differentiate between local crimes and acts of terrorism. Local crimes should be made jurisdiction of city police while terrorist acts should be investigated and charged by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). FIA should be provided enhanced forensic, investigation and prevention capabilities. Intelligence Bureau (IB) should be made part of FIA. FIA should develop a national commando (SWAT) response teams to deal with terror attack in civil areas instead of using militia forces like FC and Rangers that are not fully trained to deal with civilians. NADRA should develop a database of criminal profiles recording the verdicts and convictions that is shared by all intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

We can not deny that foreign hands could be involved in terror funding, planning and training. Visa approval process should be centralized rather than completely delegated to the embassies. A visa is issued once a security clearance is obtained from FIA that coordinate it with intelligence agencies. Many countries, Saudi Arabia & United States, are now using approval by a central agency before a visa is issued by a consulate. We gladly wait for a US or Saudi visa for 15-30 days but our embassies want to issue visa on the fly. This is creating security risk for the country.

Shahrukh Jatoi made a victory sign when he was given death penalty for killing an innocent citizen. And an MNA demanded release of Mumtaz Qadri who murdered a Governor while on duty. This same killer was showered with rose petals when he appeared in the court room. These acts show that there is no fear of law and this mockery of law is not because of drone strikes in FATA rather it is an indication of a social decline of the nation.

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The writer is a former President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA and member of Advisory Committee of Pakistan Tehrike Insaf. He has authored three books titled Islamic Social Contract, Freedom by Choice and Lessons from Quran. He can be reached at facebook.com/abdul.quayyum.kundi

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