ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Monday confirmed that anti-Pakistan terror outfits are regrouping in Balochistan via the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

This was revealed in a written reply submitted to the National Assembly during the question hour in response to a query posed by PPP MNA Dr Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro. She asked if it was true that “anti-Pakistan terror outfits are regrouping in Balochistan via Sistan, and if yes, details thereof along with action plan thereof, if any”.

In its response, the interior ministry stated: “Yes, anti-Pakistan terror outfits are regrouping in Balochistan via Sistan.”

The response, attributed to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, also mentioned the measures being taken by the government to mitigate this trend.

According to the response placed before the National Assembly on Monday, the National Intelligence Co­ordi­nation Committee (NICC) has been institutionalised to integrate all federal and provincial intelligence grids for effective and timely countermeasures.

Effective border management and fencing along the western border would also stem this tide, the response added.

“Persistent intelligence-based operations are being undertaken to neutralise terror organisations,” the response stated, adding that operational capabilities of the counterterrorism apparatus were being enhanced.

The response also recalled recent government initiatives to engage disgruntle Baloch tribesmen for reconciliation, including special socio-economic development packages for mitigating extremist threats in Balochistan and KP, and addressing the most marginalised segment of society through the “Ehsaas Programme” along with engaging the youth in constructive activities.

Banned terrorist organisations — including Baloch separatists, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group — have recently intensified their activists in different areas of the province, carrying out terrorist attacks, bomb blasts and targeted killings.

Since the beginning of the year, these groups have carried out at least seven major attacks, in which at least 22 people lost their lives, including security personnel.

Two major attacks were carried out at the camps of Frontier Corps in Nushki and Panjgur on Feb 2 at the same time. The attackers were well equipped with the latest weapons and equipment.

Both sides suffered casualties during the attacks — nine security personnel, including an officer, lost their lives, whereas 20 attackers were killed by the security forces.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2022

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