PESHAWAR, Aug 20: Pakistan is raising a new force to combat domestic and international terrorism, a senior official said.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the federal government has created the Special Investigation Group (SIG) within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to combat terrorism in the country.

“This is a highly specialised and hi-tech group, whose sole job would be to combat terrorism and other related crimes”, a senior official told Dawn.

The first batch of over 40 officers is currently being trained at the FIA Headquarters in Islamabad. The three-month- long course is coming to an end soon while the core group is expected to be on the ground in about a month-and-a-half, the official familiar with the subject said.

The SIG, according to the official, has been modelled along a similar cell within the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI experts are actively involved in training the SIG, the official said. “Obviously there is foreign assistance”, the official said.

The first batch of SIG recruits has been drawn from the Police Service of Pakistan, Intelligence Bureau, the FIA and direct recruitment through the Federal Public Service Commission. The SIG strength would be increased gradually, the official.

“No other agency has the anti-terrorism role cut out for it which has now been exclusively assigned to the SIG. We will identify our targets and then go after them”, the official said. “This is the only civilian agency dedicated to countering terrorism.”

The SIG would specialise in identifying and investigating terrorists and terrorist activities, bank frauds and informal money transaction systems like hundi. The SIG will have a computer back-up and access to computer database.

The new anti terrorism force, the official said, would be headed by a commandant under the overall command and supervision of Director General FIA. The SIG will also have regional offices in all the four provinces under the administrative command of director FIA.

All civil and military intelligence agencies will share their information on terrorism with the SIG at the FIA level. After the collation of information and sifting, tasks would be assigned on need basis to the SIG in their respective regional offices.

The official said that the SIG is being trained in various types of weapons, explosives, different techniques in questioning and interrogation, investigating terrorism, tracing bank accounts and forgeries. “It is a multifaceted job. The SIG is being trained to cope with all aspects of terrorism”, the official said.

The SIG officers have been offered handsome pay and allowance packages and other facilities to enable them to concentrate fully on their job to counter terrorism.

The official said that the SIG might if need be, seek assistance from police and other law enforcement agencies.

Reuters adds: “This is going to be a highly specialised and hi-tech force to track down terrorists and investigate acts of terrorism”, the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Opinion

Is it child abuse?
24 Sep 2021

Is it child abuse?

The SNC’s language mix doesn’t address our children’s emotional needs.
The gathering storm
24 Sep 2021

The gathering storm

The power imbalance in South Asia demands stronger ties with China and Russia.
New realities and challenges
Updated 23 Sep 2021

New realities and challenges

Will the Afghan Taliban entrust to the UN the responsibility of receiving and disbursing all aid?

Editorial

24 Sep 2021

Costs of growth

IS Pakistan’s growth party over? Not yet. But both the State Bank and government are now cutting down on the items...
24 Sep 2021

Smear campaign

PAKISTAN has presented details of how the threats made to the New Zealand cricket team leading to their cancelling...
24 Sep 2021

Rising dengue cases

THE dengue monster is once again rearing its head in different cities of Punjab. More than 820 cases have surfaced ...
Dialogue, at last
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Dialogue, at last

The govt has attempted to make the ECP controversial at a time when its input is critical for the poll reforms
AUKUS controversy
Updated 23 Sep 2021

AUKUS controversy

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table.
Provocative act
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Provocative act

Afghan Taliban flags have been found hoisted at Jamia Hafsa seminary three times since Aug 21.