ISLAMABAD: At a time when terrorism is rearing its head in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a critical report by an intelligence agency has highlighted “capacity gaps” in KP’s counterterrorism department, revealing that CTD spends less than 4pc of its budget on operations, with zero allocation for procurement.

The report, shared during a recent meeting of the National Security Committee — a copy of which is available with Dawn — notes that the KP environment remains “highly volatile” when compared with other provinces.

Drawing comparison between Punjab and KP, the national agency points out in its finding that over the last one year, Punjab faced five terrorist incidents in which three people lost their lives and 30 others sustained injuries.

In contrast, 704 such incidents took place in KP during the same period, claiming 305 lives and leaving 689 people injured, with 93 terrorists killed, mostly by security forces.

Minister calls agency’s finding ‘eye opener’, asks CM to pay serious attention to situation

It noted that despite facing growing terrorism, the KP government’s focus on its counterterrorism capacity building was absent.

“The main issue revolves around budgetary allocations for procurements [and] upgradation of equipment, training of human resource, allocations for operations as well as infrastructure,” it pointed out.

The report said that the budget for KP’s CTD (Rs2.18 billion), including salaries, was less than half of Punjab’s (Rs4.7bn). It reveals that 96pc of this budget is spent in pay and allowances. Out of the total Rs2,180 million, less than 4pc (Rs8m) is dedicated for operations, compared to Rs276m for Punjab.

According to the report, there was no allocations for procurements despite the fact that pay and allowances are the lowest among the provinces. The reward money in KP’s CTD was Rs70m compared to Rs475m in Punjab.

The CTD Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 2,135 staff posted against the authorised strength of 3,161 has the highest strength among all the provinces. The average strength of CTD in other districts is 66. But the qualification of human resource is “poor, untrained and very ill-equipped,” says the report about the KP’s CTD.

Training and infrastructure

It further pointed out that no raining institution had been established or even planned by the KP government. In Punjab, training is supervised by retired SSG officers, whereas KP lacks such training paraphernalia. No such plans are in the offing.

About the infrastructure, the intelligence agency said that four regional headquarters, including one in Bannu, were under construction for many years. While work on many others has not even started due to bureaucratic hurdles.

Newly merged districts of erstwhile Fata lack basic infrastructure where no dedicated manpower and officers have been posted.

“CTD manpower was nominated from existing Levies / Khasadars… [but they] were not imparted any training,” it said.

District offices are under construction for the last two years, barring Khyber and Mohmand districts where work has not started yet.

Cyber capability

According to the report, the Punjab CTD has a state-of-the-art cyber facility in sharp contrast with KP which does not have any such arrangement in place. The critically needed technical equipment are also absent.

The KP CTD has only 448 vehicles, including 361 motorcycles, as compared to 1,466 in Punjab.

While commenting on the report, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said, “The report of national institution about KP’s counterterrorism department is an eye opener and worrisome.”

In a statement, he expressed alarm over the rising tide of terrorism in KP and the “missing” role of the provincial government in the counterterrorism capacity building.

He said the chief minister should pay “serious attention” to the situation and “spend more time in his province and less in Zaman Park” — the residence of PTI Chairman Imran Khan in Lahore.

He claimed that the federal government had offered assistance on capacity building of CTD and police in KP, but regretted that a response was still awaited.

He said the “criminal negligence” on part of Imran Khan and KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in tackling terrorism was tantamount to helping the terrorists.

Holding Imran Khan responsible for ruining the CTD in KP, he advised the PTI chief to focus on fighting terrorism instead of attacking the federation and institutions.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2022

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