QUETTA: The Balochistan government has appealed to the leadership of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to postpone its public meeting, scheduled to be held in Quetta on Oct 25 (tomorrow), in view of security threats.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, provincial government’s spokesman Liaquat Ali Shahwani said the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had issued a security alert for the public rallies of opposition parties in Quetta and Peshawar, saying there was “credible information” about possibility of subversive activities.

“We are not afraid of PDM’s public meetings,” Mr Shahwani said, adding he was requesting for postponement of the Quetta meeting in the larger interest and for protection of the people who would come to attend it. He said the PDM could not gather more than 3,000 people in Quetta and would bring 70 to 80 per cent supporters from other towns of Balochistan and other provinces.

He said it was the responsibility of the PDM leadership to take Nacta’s warning and security alert seriously. “PDM should hold their public meeting and rally after clearance of Nacta and by postponing Sunday’s public meeting they will have more time for arrangements,” he added.

He said efforts were under way for tracing elements involved in such activities as some people had been arrested after the security alert.

‘Terrorists’ killed in operation

Hours after the provincial spokesman recalled Nacta’s warning, four alleged terrorists were killed and two security personnel injured in a heavy exchange of fire during an operation jointly conducted by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and intelligence personnel in the Dashat area of Mastung district.

The CTD recovered suicide jackets, a huge quantity of explosives, arms and ammunition from the hideout of the terrorists who belonged to a banned outfit and were wanted in various cases of attacks on security forces and civilians.

A spokesman for the CTD said the operation was conducted on the information provided by intelligence agencies about the presence of terrorists in the area.

Security forces cordoned off the area during which period the terrorists hiding in a compound opened fire. Security personnel took positions and returned fire. The heavy exchange of fire continued for several hours, resulting in the killing of the four terrorists. Two security personnel were injured. “During the exchange of fire two huge blasts also took place in the compound where the terrorists were hiding,” CTD officials said.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2020

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