Defence secretary traces terror link to N. Waziristan attack

Updated May 29, 2019

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Defence Secre­tary retired Lt Gen Ikramul Haq on Tuesday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence that the recent incident in North Waziristan’s Boyya area had its roots in the arrest of two suspects for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attack on an army check post last month. — APP/File
Defence Secre­tary retired Lt Gen Ikramul Haq on Tuesday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence that the recent incident in North Waziristan’s Boyya area had its roots in the arrest of two suspects for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attack on an army check post last month. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD/KHAR: Defence Secre­tary retired Lt Gen Ikramul Haq on Tuesday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence that the recent incident in North Waziristan’s Boyya area had its roots in the arrest of two suspects for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attack on an army check post last month.

He made it clear that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state.

According to the military, the Kharqamar check post in Boyya was attacked by a mob following which the troops retaliated. The incident left at least three people dead and five soldiers wounded.

The defence secretary said a member of the National Assembly, Mohsin Dawar, had started a sit-in on May 26 against the detention of two suspects in connection with the last month’s attack on the army check post. He said the tribal elders (Mishran) and law enforcement agencies had reached an agreement to end the agitation and release one of the suspects. However, MNAs Dawar and Ali Wazir obstructed the deal and stopped the protesters from ending their agitation, the NA committee was informed.

Bajaur jirga vows to foil agenda of anti-state elements

Both parliamentarians had a heated exchange with the troops on the scene after which the protesters pelted stones and used weapons that left five soldiers wounded, he said, adding that the mob later tried to attack the post, compelling the troops to retaliate.

The committee denounced the incident and said that a few people could not be allowed to aggravate the security situation.

“The committee unanimously condemn­ed the attack on the forces at Kharqamar check post in North Waziristan and decided to hold a meeting of the committee in future in that area,” a statement issued by the committee on the incident said.

Bajaur jirga

Meanwhile, addressing a jirga of Tharkani and Utmankhel tribes of Bajaur district at Bajaur Scouts headquarters on Tuesday, army’s sector commander (north) Brig Naeem Akbar Raja called upon the elders and religious leaders of the tribal areas to stay vigilant in thwarting the conspiracy by some anti-state elements against peace in the region.

He said the attack on the Kharqamar checkpoint in North Waziristan had exposed the real agenda and mission of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leaders as they only wanted to sabotage peace that had been restored with the joint efforts of the tribal people and security forces.

Brig Akbar said the PTM had only been exploiting the identity of Pakhtun community for vested interests. He said peace and normalcy had been restored to the region with the joint efforts of the area people and security personnel. He said neither the security forces nor the area people would allow them to sabotage peace for their vested interests, adding that he was optimistic that the tribal people would strongly reject such elements. He said the writ of the state was the key to peace and prosperity of citizens.

He asked the jirga members to foil the nefarious agenda of such elements by keeping close watch over their activities. He advised them to protect the youth from being exploited by the PTM for their agenda to sabotage peace in their areas.

The officer said the courageous and brave residents of Bajaur had defeated the anti-state elements in the past as well. They had received appreciation not only from the security forces but also from the entire nation. After the defeat of militants and their supporters in Bajaur some years ago, Brig Akbar said, a significant increase in socio-economic activities was witnessed in the region. However, he said, some elements for their vested interests were trying to disturb peace and normalcy in the area in the name of ‘Pashtun rights’.

The jirga members said they were responsible people of the region and vowed that no one would be allowed to sabotage peace in the district, which had faced militancy for years. They said Bajaur residents were peace-loving people and there was consensus among them not to provide space to the anti-peace elements in the region.

They said the people of Bajaur very well understood the importance of peace as normalcy had been restored to the area after a lot of sacrifices. They said they would continue to make efforts to strengthen the peaceful environment in the region.

Besides tribal elders and religious leaders, leaders and senior activists of different political and religious parties also participated in the gathering called by the security forces.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2019