Pakistan to establish anti-terror authorityJanuary 2nd, 2009 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Jan 2 (IANS) Faced with worldwide demands to take action against militant groups operating from its territory, Pakistan has decided to establish a National Counter-terrorism Authority (NCA).Tariq Pervez, who has just retired as the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), could head the new body, The News daily reported Friday.
“Pervez has been assigned the job of preparing the concept, structure and mandate of the NCA so that it could serve the purpose for which it was being established,” the newspaper said, quoting an official to add: “The primary objective of the NCA would be maximum coordination among different tools and agencies of the government engaged in counter-terrorism.”
The NCA is the brainchild of interior ministry adviser Rehman Malik. Hitherto, counter-terrorism tasks have been undertaken by the intelligence agencies, primarily the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
“Their workload increased manifold after Pakistan’s participation in the anti-terror war in the wake of the 9/11 attacks,” The News noted.
At the same time, “lack of coordination among different official organs working in the field of counter-terrorism had affected the efforts in this direction”, the newspaper said.
“Most civilian governments have been critical of the absence of due coordination among the intelligence agencies and other state organisations, and have been calling for an effective counter-terrorism mechanism,” it added.
With its hands full battling the Taliban and the Al Qaeda in the badlands along the Afghan border, Pakistan is home to a rash of terrorist groups that were responsible for the killings of at least 600 people last year.
One of these groups, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), is blamed by India for the gruesome Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror attacks that left more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners, dead.
Reports in the US media suggest that a top LeT operative has confessed to the group’s involvement in the Mumbai carnage.
New Delhi also holds the LeT responsible for the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that almost sparked a sub-continental war.
Following the Mumbai carnage, the UN Security Council, acting at the request of India and the US, had proscribed the Jamaat-ud Daawa, as the LeT was renamed after the then Pakistani government banned it in the wake of the 2001 attack.