The National Command Authority (NCA), which oversees the operational command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenals and missile systems, is the top policy making body of the country to authorise possession and use of fire-arms to security force personnel who are in the service of the Authority.
As per the National Command Authority Act 2010, the Authority shall have the powers to perform all such functions that are necessary to implement the objects and purposes of this Act which includes to exercise complete command and control over all nuclear and space related technologies, systems and matters.
The Act also envisages that the NCA has the authority to “authorise possession and use of fire-arms to security forces personnel who are in the service of the Authority” and “take actions, issue appropriate orders and instructions as it may deem fit or in order to advance or achieve the purposes of its establishment and in order to facilitate the performance of actions or functions that are incidental and ancillary thereto.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has called the meeting of the Authority on Wednesday in the wake of the Indian aggression against Pakistan, is the chairman of the NCA. Its members include Minister for Foreign Affairs; Minister for Defence; Minister for Finance; Minister for Interior; Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee; Chief of Army Staff; Chief of Naval Staff; and Chief of Air Staff. The Director General Strategic Plans Division acts as the Secretary of the Authority. Under the Act, all the powers and functions rest with the National Command Authority on whose behalf, the chairman will exercise these powers and functions who may in consultation with National Command Authority and subject to such limitations as he may specify, delegate any of these powers and functions to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Director General Strategic Plans Division, who may further sub-delegate the same to any employee.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, the DG ISPR Maj General Asif Ghafoor while referring to the National Command Authority meeting convened by the PM on Wednesday said, “I hope you know what the NCA means and what it constitutes.” The Pak military spokesman had a clear and unambiguous media for India, “I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. I said that our response will be different. The response will come differently….. You have chosen a path of war without knowing the consequence for the peace and stability of the region.” Within hours after Indian aggression, the National Security Committee of the government met to decide,that “Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing.” Later in a press conference addressed by a team of ministers led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said Pakistan “shall respond”. The same message was conveyed by the DG ISPR in a candid manner but the entire nation awaits with the fingers crossed what the “surprise” response of Pakistan would be.