RAWALPINDI: The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has claimed that the four terrorist attacks in Punjab last year were carried out by Jamatul Ahrar (JuA), a faction of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) which was operating from Afghanistan.

It said all facilitators of the attackers had been arrested. Mohammad Tahir Rai, additional inspector general CTD, said except the four terrorist attacks the security situation in the province remained satisfactory in 2017.

He stated this while briefing participants of a meeting of National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta).

The meeting was attended by the interior minister, police high-ups and representatives of intelligence agencies.

The official said handlers of those who carried out the four terrorist attacks had been arrested by law enforcement agencies.

Among those killed in the fourth suicide attack in Lahore on July 13, 2017, were six policemen, including Zahir Gondal, the SSP operations, and Ahmed Mobin, the DIG traffic.

At least 26 people were killed and over 50 injured in the attack.

The CTD official said radicalisation of the youth through the social media by terror groups was posing a security threat to Punjab.

He suggested establishing social media monitoring mechanisms at Nacta for countering the terrorists’ narrative. He also stressed the need to form a body at the federal government level to deal with transnational and inter-provincial terrorism.

The AIG warned against anti-China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hostile proxies operating in the country and suggested addressing the root cause of terrorism such as poverty, unemployment, deprivation and most importantly lack of easy access to justice.

He said the terrorists must be neutralised ideologically because merely hunting them down with force would not be a long-lasting solution to the menace of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Nacta has issued a security alert citing intelligence that terrorists associated with TTP had been planning to carry out an attack in the provincial capital.

It also warned that the terrorists’ likely target would be Chinese interests and establishments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Nacta asked the home department and the director general Rangers to strengthen security around important installations and issue directives to all concerned to keep vigilance across the province.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2018

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