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War on terrorism is in final stage, says KP governor
By Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR – A new wave of terrorism has struck the country, and the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) seems to be a major focal point.
The latest attack occurred April 11 on the Industrial Estate Police Checkpost in Hayatabad, just 50m east of the tribal Khyber Agency boundary.
Policeman Sajid Iqbal died when he and constable Bakhshish intercepted some 20 militants coming from the tribal areas to attack the city. Before his death, Sajid gunned down at least three militants, wounded several others and called for reinforcements.
Intelligence agencies warned police that terrorists would attack, especially in Peshawar, in the coming days to press the government to halt military operations in the tribal belt.
“The war is continuing, but they (militants) are dying down. They have lost their strength, and the good thing is that you will find police alert whenever they will try to break into the city,” said Liaqat Ali Khan, capital city police officer of Peshawar. He asked the public to inform police of any suspicious movement or people. “We successfully defused a bomb … that was planted near the residence of Shabbir Ahmad Khan on the morning of April 11.”
Shabbir is a former lawmaker from Jamat-e-Islami who headed the party’s youth wing, Shabab-e-Milli, for several years. Shabbir is the second KP religious leader to be targeted. Before him, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, escaped two suicide attacks. In a March 30 attack in Swabi, 10 people including a policeman and seven JUI-F workers were killed; on March 31, 14 people, including a police inspector and three constables, were killed in an attack in Charsadda.
Rehman and other political and religious leaders have restricted their movements because of the new wave of terrorism, which is mostly targeting key leaders.
War against militants called successful
“The war with the militants is in the final stage. The sacrifices rendered by our policemen, soldiers and paramilitary troops will never go wasted. It’s a long war, but we are progressing toward success,” Barrister Masud Kausar, KP governor, said at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines after offering the funeral prayers for Sajid April 11. He termed the situation in FATA far better than it was three years ago.
KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the purpose of the attacks is to press the government to halt action against militants.
Military operations are in full swing in Khyber Agency, Mohmand Agency, Orakzai and other tribal areas. More than 80 suspected militants have been killed in Mohmand in recent days, according to the military. At least ten militants – including top commanders identified as Qari Ikramullah, second-in-command of TTP Amir for Dara Adamkhel and Khyber Agency, and Sarfraz Ayubi, Qari Mubeen, Qari Javed and Abdul Manan – were killed in the Tor Chappar area of Dara Adamkhel the same day.
The fresh wave of terror has not only hit the tribal areas and KP, but also Punjab and Balochistan.
One suicide bomber, Umar Fidai, who was arrested after he failed to trigger his explosive vest at the shrine of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan on April 3, disclosed that when he left for DG Khan, 10 other bombers were dispatched to different cities of Punjab. About 50 people were killed while 102 sustained injuries in the blasts inside the shrine.
In Balochistan, the house of a deputy inspector general was attacked by a suicide car bomber, which killed a police officer and injured several others, including the wife and daughter of the senior police officer in Quetta. Five people were killed in another bombing in the province’s Turbat district.
The recent terror wave began with an attack on a military convoy in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency March 28, which killed at least 14 soldiers, including a colonel and a captain of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
“We are to continue more such attacks in reaction to the government’s operations against our people,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said after claiming responsibility for the Sakhi Sarwar suicide bombings.