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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to establish Commission for implementation of national narrative and development of structures against violent extremism and radicalisation in the country, official sources told Business Recorder.

On November 10, 2020, Ministry of Interior informed the Cabinet that Pakistan had been a victim of terrorism for the past few decades and accordingly had invested heavily to meet this challenge. Success of kinetic operation had also harnessed public support, creating space for the government and law enforcing agencies to tackle the issue of violence through non-kinetic means.

To address the root causes of terrorism, a joint State-Society response was a must to shape the environment and help people in resisting extremist ideologies. In this regard, on Jan 16, 2018, a national peace narrative, joint declaration and a unanimous fatwa from religious leaders of all schools of thought titled "Paigham-e-Pakistan" was launched at President House that addresses the issues of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, Takfir and bans suicide bombings, armed struggle and rebellion against the state.

The United Nations also, through its various resolutions and Plan of Actions, had encouraged Member States to develop strategies to Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) that eventually fuels terrorism and violent extremism.

A comprehensive approach was, therefore, required to be adopted for curbing the social, religious, and psychological factors leading to violent extremism and terrorism. This necessitated proper policy making and its implementation by creating a separate body in Pakistan with a mandate to devise a comprehensive CVE mechanism. Hence, the Commission for implementation of national narrative and development of structures against violent extremism was recommended for identification of challenges, implementation of CVE policies and better coordination among various state institutions for de-radicalization and rehabilitation of convicts and under-trial individuals as well as for conducting research on CVE.

The Primary objectives of the Commission included; (i) providing a legal mechanism for effective implementation of CVE/de-radicalization policies and to fulfil the international obligation of Pakistan to curb violent extremism; (ii) enforcing national narratives including Paigham-e-Pakistan and recommend CVE policies in line with National Action Plan; (iii) establishing Policy Review Board for Countering Violent Extremism under the Commission to coordinate with Ministries, Government Departments and academia on CVE; (iv) establishing Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism to develop modules and conduct under-graduate, graduate, post-graduate and diploma courses related to counterterrorism and CVE; (v) establishing national de-rad facility to formulate and implement strategies for de-radicalization, rehabilitation and psychological and religious counselling of prisoners and detainees involved in terrorism; (vi) prohibiting offences relating to violent extremism and sectarianism in the light of Paigham-e-Pakistan; (vii) preparing de-radicalization modules, strategies, and vocational training programs for de-radicalization of terrorists and extremists and; (viii) promoting awareness against threats of violent extremism and radicalization through print and electronic media, publications, seminars, conferences and other means available.

The Cabinet in its meeting held on November 10, 2020 has approved the draft legislation submitted by the Ministry of Interior.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020