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Army begins handing South Waziristan checkposts over to FC

Updated May 04, 2018

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A soldier stands guard at the Pak-Afghan border. — Photo by Author
A soldier stands guard at the Pak-Afghan border. — Photo by Author

The army has begun handing over its checkposts in the South Waziristan Agency to the Frontier Corps (FC), with cellphone service set to resume in the area, according to Inspector General (IG) FC Maj Gen Abid Lateef, who made a statement to this effect on Friday.

Explore: The cold emptiness of South Waziristan

The announcement fulfills two major demands of the Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement, which has been demanding basic rights for the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and highlighting the issues faced by Pashtuns in general.

A view of the newly opened Ghulam Khan route. — Photo by Author
A view of the newly opened Ghulam Khan route. — Photo by Author

Other demands include the termination of the Watan Card — an identity document for Fata residents in addition to the national identity card — and the removal of landmines from the area.

Read more: Army-PTM talks stall after promising start

Around 11,000 FC officials have been posted at the checkposts, Gen Lateef said today, adding that monitoring of the Pak-Afghan border would continue through the use of radars and modern camera equipment.

Recounting efforts by security forces and the government in the area after it was cleared of terrorists, Gen Lateef said 78 education and 11 health projects have been completed in the agency, in addition to 174 water provision projects. He also said that 81 parks and 59 markets have been built.

About the fencing and monitoring of the Pak-Afghan border, he said that Pakistan had 151 checkposts on the border, adding that 30 kilometres of fencing have been completed.

He also said that the number of checkposts in the agency has been reduced from 90 to only eight and the repatriation process of displaced persons is near completion. He claimed that Rs433.6 billion have been distributed among 18,464 families.

Gen Lateef added that 98 per cent of the displaced persons have returned to the area while the remaining 2pc would return before Ramazan.

A view of the newly built agricultural park in Wana, South Waziristan. — Photo by Author
A view of the newly built agricultural park in Wana, South Waziristan. — Photo by Author

'Security command to be handed to FC in North Waziristan soon'

Speaking in Ghulam Khan Kilay on Friday, North Waziristan General Officer Commanding (GOC) Maj Gen Azhar Abbas told journalists that the whole agency has been cleared of terrorists.

To improve security and prevent cross-border attacks and movement of terrorists, Pakistan has started the installation of CCTV cameras along the Pak-Afghan border, he said. "So far 46 high-resolution cameras have been installed," Gen Abbas informed.

High-resolution cameras placed at the border. — Photo by Author
High-resolution cameras placed at the border. — Photo by Author

He was talking to a group of journalists taken by the army to North Waziristan to brief them on the security situation in the agency after the opening of the Ghulam Khan route.

Journalists were further briefed about the monitoring centre in Miramshah which would not only monitor the CCTV cameras but also the entry and exit of individuals in the area. National identity cards of every person arriving in the area would be scanned at the checkposts, monitored by the centre.

A view of the monitoring centre in Miramshah. — Photo by Author
A view of the monitoring centre in Miramshah. — Photo by Author

Gen Abbas further stated that normalcy has returned to the agency, therefore the military has reduced its checkposts to just five from 35.

The GOC informed that soon, the security command in the agency would soon be handed over to FC.