The Supreme Court on Thursday made public the report of one-man judicial commission, comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa, constituted to investigate a suicide attack in the premises of a Quetta hospital.
The Commission worked for 56 continuous days to finalise this report. Having examined relevant persons and obtained responses from all relevant ministries, departments and institutions, the monumental failure to combat terrorism and perform basic protocols emerged.
It is also observed that the investigators think that there is some connection between the attackers and their handlers in Afghanistan.
However, neither the first attack on Bilal Kasi nor the subsequent attack by the suicide bomber could have been possible without local assistance and participation. The suicide bomber was a Pakistani national and there were a number of his accomplices too.
The report stated that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) must be providing valuable input to combat terrorism, but surprisingly it can’t be contacted to convey information on suspicious or terrorist related activities. The ISI does not have a website, address, email, or telephone number. The commission checked whether the intelligence agencies of other countries were also unreachable.
It is also stated that the commission, which was constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, had considerable faced difficulty in ascertaining the whereabouts of the government ministries, departments and agencies; one can but commiserate with the poor citizens who may have to interact with them.
If such nebulousness serves a purpose, it could only be to remain aloof and unapproachable and, therefore, unquestionable and unaccountable.
The commission has recommended that Anti-Terrorism Act needs to be enforced, and terrorists/ terrorist organisations must be proscribed without any delay. They must not be permitted to hold meetings. Those claiming to be members of proscribed organisations should be prosecuted in accordance with ATA.
The report stated that there is a breakdown in the implementation of law and order, which has led to rules being repeatedly violated without consequences, and this has fostered a culture of nepotism. There are unabashedly clear instances of nepotism, when unqualified individuals were illegally appointed.
This includes the illegal appointments of at least four secretaries, including the secretary health department (brother of a retired lieutenant general and federal minister).
“The Frontier Corps is not responsive to the civil administration and the role of the Frontier Corps in respect to policing is unclear.”
The government’s credibility was undermined by the chief minister, the home minister, and by their spokesman, when they made irresponsible statements to the press. In these statements, fabricated leads were widely broadcast, disrupting the investigation and creating false expectations.
The commission found that the National Action Plan is neither a plan in any structured or meaningful way, nor has its goals been accordingly monitored or implemented.
The Anti-Terrorism Act has been violated: Proscribed organisations continue their illegal activities and new terrorist organisations are proscribed after long delays. Some terrorist organisations have still not been proscribed or prosecuted, even when their statements acknowledging terrorist attacks are broadcast and printed.
The commission finds that the western borders are not monitored and even from the official crossings there is a free and unrestricted flow of people and goods (including terrorists, weapons, ammunition, and other contraband).
It is proposed that entry into and departure from Pakistan needs to be properly monitored; all persons must have the requisite documentation and be photographed and their thumb impressions must be taken by the personnel of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The customs authorities should ensure that contraband is not brought into the country.
The ministry of religious affairs and inter-faith harmony is a moribund ministry and is not fulfilling its most basic mandate for interfaith harmony. There is no registration or monitoring of seminaries. The media has very few stories about the victims of terrorism.
The media coverage seems to converge around the propaganda of terrorists, which is disseminated in breach of section 11W of the ATA. The commission recommends if the media broadcasts and propagates the views of terrorists, those doing so must be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The federal ministries, with its institutions and the provincial departments with its institutions should only use stationary which provides contact details, including postal address, email, and telephone number.
The ATA is equally applicable to public functionaries and they should not be cavorting with proclaimed members of banned organisations. Hypocrisy must stop. There needs to be a nationwide streamlining of national policy and all government servants need to abide by it, or face the consequences.
The amount sent by the government of Punjab as compensation and the amount earmarked by the government of Balochistan as compensation for the legal heirs of the deceased and for the injured should be expeditiously distributed.
The National Action Plan should be made into a proper plan with clear goals, a comprehensive monitoring mechanism and periodic reviewing. It should also be translated into Urdu for wider dissemination and understanding.
Aerial firing must be stopped throughout the country and immediate criminal cases instituted against those who resort to it.
Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) must be instructed and directed not to resort to aerial firing in the aftermath of terrorist attacks as it further terrorises the victims and dissuades doctors and emergency personnel to come forward to render first aid and assistance.
The people of Pakistan require knowing the reasons why an individual or organisation has been proscribed. Acts committed by terrorists, or those claimed by them should be listed.
The solution to the menace of extremism and terrorism is straightforward: abide by the laws: the Anti-Terrorism Act (“ATA”), the National Counter Terrorism Authority Act (“NACTA Act”), the Pakistan Penal Code, and above all the Constitution of Pakistan (“The Constitution”). It is an abomination to have laws and not enforce them.