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- Reuters/File
- Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Security agencies have started surveillance of the Indus River on the basis of an intelligence report that outlawed militant groups were planning to use the waterway for transporting arms and ammunition and kidnapped persons between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

Officials in intelligence agencies, interior ministry and the capital police told Dawn that the outlawed Al Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had chosen the waterway in order to skip security checking on motorways, national highways and other land routes.

There are only three points where militants can be intercepted on the River Indus - Sukkur Barrage, Gudu Barrage and Kotri Barrage in Sindh, the officials said. Apart from that, there are no security pickets on the river right from KP to the Sukkur Barrage.

Even at the three barrages, the security measures are aimed at protecting the water reservoirs - not countering the movement of militants.

The officials said the new tactic of the militants would put the national security at risk if it was not countered immediately.

They said the possible water route was discovered early last month. The intelligence report alerted that Al Qaeda and TTP had planned to kidnap officials, especially Chinese working at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)’s project at Chashma in the Mianwali district of Punjab.

It said the militants had completed reconnaissance to kidnap the officials during their movement between Balkasar interchange in the Chakwal district and Kundian in the Mianwali district.

“After kidnapping the officials, including the Chinese nationals, the terrorists intend to flee towards Laki Marwat in KP via the Indus River by using boats from near the shrine of Patang Baba, Ghundi Kundian Kundal, in Mianwali,” the officials quoted the intelligence report.

The report added: “The same groups may also target those Chinese officials who travel between the Thal Canal Kudian and Talagang-Mianwali Road.”

They said mounting vigilance along with setting up of checkpoints along the river was a very tough task but not impossible. Different options are under consideration, including the deployment of the Frontier Constabulary, Punjab and Sindh Rangers along the Indus River in KP, Punjab and Sindh.

Comments (24) Closed

Raghu May 02, 2014 12:25pm

If any Chinese scientist is kidnapped, then you will get to see the real face of China. The most patriotic government, most patriotic people who put the religion behind the Country. That's why they are developing and growing and others are blood shedding everyday...

Parvez May 02, 2014 12:42pm

Much of the Indus river system is navigable by small the idea is a good one.

Youth May 02, 2014 01:02pm

ACTION is required, talking & talking is not enough.

Akram May 02, 2014 01:04pm

We need to give these chinese kidnappers a target, to draw them out. they don't even have to be chinese, they are obviously looking for oriental faces, perhaps we can get someone to be the target and draw out this group?

Zia May 02, 2014 01:21pm

The other best option is usage of helicopter for such operations and this should be done on constant basis with no time frame as there are informers in the lower cadres of the forces who inform the militants. The other option which is very likely now is to go after the militants with full force even chase them inside Afghan territory ofcourse keep the ISAF and Afghan forces in the picture so there is no mistrust between the parties. Well this is the only way to succeed

Last Word May 02, 2014 01:59pm

The main concern and security measures are confined to save the precious Chinese lives and not locals.

Aussie May 02, 2014 02:01pm

Time to build some dams..????

Krishna Uppaloju May 02, 2014 02:32pm

I seriously think that these terrorists are the most intelligent people.... They are the most innovative thinkers who think out of the box for solutions to problems.. If they use 1% of their intelligence towards good causes, then Pakistan would have been a developed country by now... Only thing is that there are using their intelligence for negative reasons in the name of religion... If they use it for positive reasons in the name of humanity.. they will also develop and in turn help Pakistan develop..

ahmedj May 02, 2014 02:42pm

You cant stop them. Better, learn from them and develop water systems for transport. We have rivers supported by a network of canals. The farming land needs new transport communication system.

Frankenstine May 02, 2014 02:55pm

there is not much navigation in Northern Areas.. and to be honest it is not very much difficult to keep an eye

hairat zada pakistani May 02, 2014 02:57pm

And, of course they need short routes to reach to their elders, like maulana samiul haq, ibrahim, hameed gul etc. to get their blessings for their successes.

Shehzad Zafar May 02, 2014 03:14pm

What in this report to be headline. How can you check all country when US and Afghan forces were not able to do that for several years. Apart from rivers all type of things can be smuggled from any where all over Pakistan just by making warm the pockets of some people.

Ali Shah May 02, 2014 03:29pm

@Raghu......We have seen the real face of China a fair few times in the past. It is surely better than some of the other neighbors that we have.

indoaryan May 02, 2014 04:07pm

It will create great difficulties for pak. govt. if there was an incident involving Chinese personals. The Chinese reaction could jeopardize all development projects in pakistan or even face diplomatic/military standoff between these two countries.

Amjad Wyne May 02, 2014 04:31pm

@Last Word You misunderstood the article. The article first says that the Taliban plan to abduct Chinese...the later part simply says that they have to show vigilance.

GA May 02, 2014 05:15pm

Good. I hope these militants get eaten up by the blind dolphins of the Indus. Wishfull thinking. I know.

Jamal May 02, 2014 05:19pm

So the national security lies east of indus?

adil May 02, 2014 05:54pm

Govt should plan security measures and also keep a check on intelligence of INDIA otherwise it would be too late..

Qazi May 02, 2014 08:24pm

its funny how the militants always get the smart ideas first whereas the agencies are always the ones to respond

Fiz May 02, 2014 09:16pm

Devious fellows, bent upon polluting everything on earth! Such fellows are unable to build useful things for humanity rather their selfishness brings only destruction.

aker May 02, 2014 10:11pm

But why nobody talks about breeding ground and safe heaven of terrorists in KP.

ak18 May 02, 2014 10:41pm

well this is not a sustainable plan.. soon all of pakistan's rivers will be bone dry...

Shakil Khan May 02, 2014 10:44pm

There is lesson from militants, these waterways should also be used for people transport where possible by encouraging river travel and adventure activities. Instead of assigning everything to Army on temporary basis, create a national park rangers type of force that can oversea security and rescue.

Make rivers and canals more accessible for people to use boats and run ferry services on busy routes, this will reduce the traffic on roads.

Tower May 04, 2014 06:26pm

Inch by inch they will take over. I don't see the will of the govt to stop them