• Two PTI members of PM’s steering committee on peace skip meeting
• Rana Sana takes on provincial govt over march support
• Imran says Swat situation a matter for Centre
ISLAMABAD: Amidst the growing concern over a surge in activities of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Prime Minister’s Steering Committee on Peace on Wednesday decided to fully assist the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in curbing terrorist activities in the province.
The committee’s meeting, which reviewed the law and order situation in the country, particularly Swat, took place days after the interior ministry issued an alert over the increasing threat of attacks by the TTP or its factions after talks with the banned group broke down.
The meeting, chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, was skipped by PTI members Ali Mohammad Khan and Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif. The committee deplored their absence.
The meeting was attended, among others, by MNAs Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Khalid Hussain Magsi and Mohsin Dawar, PM’s adviser Amir Muqam, former KP governor Shaukatullah Khan and former senator Mohammad Saleh Shah.
The panel met two days after a school van was targeted in Swat’s Charbagh area, which left its driver dead and two students injured. The attack was the latest in a series of violent incidents that have gripped the valley in recent days, prompting the citizens to take to the streets against the rising tide of militancy.
According to Rescue 1122 officials, the van was taking students to a school in the Gulibagh area of Charbagh tehsil when unidentified assailants, riding a motorcycle, had opened fire. The driver was killed on the spot, while two students were injured and taken to a hospital.
“The committee expressed concern over the increasing incidents of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and expressed solidarity with the people of Swat against terrorism,” said a statement issued by the interior ministry after the meeting.
It said all the participants unanimously decided to provide full support to the KP government for eradication of terrorism from the province.
They observed that instead of politics, the KP government should ensure public order in the province and cooperate with the federation. “Extremism and terrorism are on the rise in KP, but the provincial government is busy planning sit-ins against the federation,” they regretted.
Later, in a tweet, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the steering committee had unanimously decided to support the KP government in curbing terrorist activities. “The KP government must ensure peace in the province rather than playing petty politics in the name of a long march against the federal government,” he said, referring to PTI chairman Imran Khan’s much-talked about plan for march on Islamabad.
The minister said it was “unfortunate” that members of the committee belonging to the PTI — Ali Mohammad Khan and Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif — had refused to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court earlier in the day, Imran Khan said the ongoing “alarming” situation in Swat was a matter for the federal government to see, and the PTI-led KP government had been alerting the Centre for a long time.
“It is the right of the people to know under what conditions dialogue with the group [TTP] was held and on which point it ended and what threats the country is facing that the ministry is forced to use the alert,” the PTI chief said.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2022