ISLAMABAD - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan on Friday together with the Ministry of Interior launched a four-year technical assistance framework which aims to strengthen the criminal justice response in Pakistan to prevent and counter terrorism.

The UNODC has a mandate to provide technical assistance for preventing and countering terrorism to Member States, and our technical assistance falls within the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted in 2006 and subsequently endorsed; the strategy representing the consensus of Member States to implement an agreed policy and strategic approach to preventing and countering terrorism domestically and globally.  Pakistan’s Terrorism Prevention Programme (PTP2) is the result of a partnership between the Government of Pakistan and UNODC, and has been jointly developed after comprehensive consultations with relevant stakeholders at both federal and provincial levels.

With the implementation of projects under this framework, support would be delivered to all provinces across the country for enhancing the skills and knowledge of criminal justice officials, including law enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary, for strengthening the rule of law and governance, and for promoting human rights.

In his opening remarks Dr Jeremy Milsom, Country Representative of UNODC, welcomed the guests to the launch. Addressing the audience, he said: “We have come a long way since the initial discussions on this programme.”

Yousaf Naeem, Secretary Ministry of Interior, highlighted the objective of the newly-launched programme, and acknowledged the commitment of UNODC in delivering support to Pakistan. ‘With the implementation of activities, international cooperation, especially in terrorism-related cases through the Central Authority established at the Ministry of Interior under the recently passed legislation Mutual Legal Assistance, Criminal Matters Act 2019, would be enhanced’ he stated. 

It is significant to note that the framework of this programme would encourage provinces to adopt a harmonised approach and common practices in preventing and countering terrorism, while enhancing information sharing and coordination amongst stakeholders. The UNODC would deliver technical support in the following thematic areas: rule of law capacity-building for police, prosecutors, and judges; victim protection and support: countering the financing of terrorism; and community engagement through strategic communication; promoting international cooperation.

The expected results of the programme would assist in and contribute towards implementation of the National Action Plan and National Internal Security Policy of Pakistan.   Masood Karimipour, Chief Terrorism Prevention Branch UNODC, said: “I am very grateful to the Government of Pakistan for working together with UNODC in developing this programme, which further strengthens our collaboration in the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.”

In his closing remarks, Minister for Interior Brig (Retired) Ijaz Shah expressed his gratitude to the Terrorism Prevention Branch chief, and members of the international community, for the trust bestowed upon the Government of Pakistan and its counter-terrorism apparatus through this project. “We look forward to working together with the UNODC in the implementation of this programme in the coming years,” he stated.