Fear and panic in Peshawar amid high alert

Updated 18 Feb 2017

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A policeman frisks a man entering the shrine of Sufi poet Rehman Baba in Hazar Khawani area of Peshawar on Friday. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya
A policeman frisks a man entering the shrine of Sufi poet Rehman Baba in Hazar Khawani area of Peshawar on Friday. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya

PESHAWAR: With the law-enforcement and security agencies on high alert in light of the Wednesday suicide bombing of a vehicle carrying judges, an uneasy calm continued to prevail in the provincial capital on Friday.

Fear and panic gripped the local residents as police personnel were deployed in large numbers across the city, especially outside mosques for Friday congregations.

The worshippers were allowed entry to the premises declared sensitive only after they’re body searched.

Also, strict security checks were in place at the shrines of revered mystics in and outside the city.

Also in the day, security forces killed three terrorists in Kafoor Deri area of Peshawar during a pre-dawn encounter.

A senior police official told Dawn that the terrorists all aged around 20 years had yet to be identified.

He said the personnel of the security forces came under fire after they spotted terrorists patrolling Kafoor Deri area.


Tight security checks seen across city, especially outside mosques


The official said the security personnel retaliated and killed all attackers and that they remained unhurt.

An official of the Reggi police station said the FIR of the incident would be registered by the counterterrorism department.

However, the FIR wasn’t registered until the filing of the report.

Another senior police official said investigation into the incident was underway.

He said a high alert was sounded in the provincial capital in view of the fresh wave of terrorism in the country.

The official said the law-enforcement agencies circulated a security alert to the relevant quarters for immediate actions and adopting security measures to avoid any untoward incident.

“According to a reliable source, NDS (National Directorate of Security of Afghanistan) has dispatched 29 miscreants from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Terrorists activities most likely for targeted killings (will be carried out) in Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi and Peshawar,” read the alert.

The alert was circulated on the social media panicking the people especially in the districts in question.

A security analyst said it was astonishing to see such a sensitive and confidential alert circulate on the social media.

He wondered how the confidential report of the law enforcement agencies reached social media.

When contacted, SSP (operations) Sajjad Khan confirmed high alert in Peshawar.

He said search operations were conducted by the police in the targeted areas of Peshawar.

The SSP said snap checking on the roads would be increased, while directives had been issued to the police stations across the city not to harass the people.

He said the standard operating procedure had been prepared under which the security of all important installations and educational institutions would be revisited.

The SSP said the police would direct the administrators of such installations and educational institutions to put the necessary security checks in place.

Our correspondent from Ghalanai adds: Fear continued to prevail in the agency headquarters of Mohmand Agency, Ghalanai, on Friday in the wake of a suicide attack on the political compound.

KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra addressed tribesmen at a jirga to condole the deaths of the Levies personnel and civilians killed in the Wednesday attack.

Security was beefed up across the agency headquarters, especially at entry and exit points, with the security personnel carrying out search of vehicles at checkposts.

The main Peshawar-Bajaur Road and Ghalanai Bazaar were closed during the governor’s visit.

All markets and bazaars, government schools and offices of government departments remained closed for the third consecutive day in the region.

The local residents opted to stay indoors by and large.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2017