As Pakistan faces a resurgence in terror incidents, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to deal with the problem with “iron hands” and asserted that the state would not bow down to any militant groups.
“Attempts to spread chaos in Pakistan through terrorism will be dealt with iron hands,” he said in a statement carried by state-run Radio Pakistan on Wednesday.
The premier noted that the problem of terrorism was a “sensitive issue of national security” and called for “collective thinking” and a “national action plan” to curb the recent rise in terror activities.
Moreover, he added, the federal government would also address the “external facilitation of terrorists who disseminate and support it in Pakistan”.
Terror incidents in KP
PM Shehbaz particularly condemned the recent incidents of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which has seen a significant rise in terror activities since the militant Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) called an end to its ceasefire with the government.
Among the most recent incidents in the province, four policemen were martyred when terrorists attacked a police station in Lakki Marwat — a district of Bannu division — on Sunday.
The same day, militants detained at a facility run by KP police’s Counter Terrorism Department in Bannu took control of the compound, held security personnel hostage and demanded a safe passage first to Afghanistan and later to North Waziristan or South Waziristan.
The siege ended after more than two days following an operation by security forces. Twenty-five terrorists were killed and three security personnel were martyred in the operation.
On Monday, an Intelligence Bureau sub-inspector was gunned down in Peshawar while a suicide attack in North Waziristan claimed the lives of a soldier and two civilians. Also on Monday, back-to-back bombings in Khuzdar injured 20.
In the early hours of Tuesday, dozens of armed militants stormed a police station in South Waziristan’s Wana and escaped after looting arms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, two beheaded bodies were found in a watercourse in KP’s Tank district. Police said a paper was found by the bodies that read: “It is a message from Taliban to everyone that spying would result in such a death.”
Earlier today, President Arif Alvi paid tributes to the security personnel who embraced martyrdom in the Bannu operation and condoled their deaths.
“I must salute the valiant officers and soldiers of the Pakistan Army who bravely fought the terrorists in the Bannu operation.
“I condole the shahadat (martyrdom) of Subedar Major Khurshid Akram, Sepahi Saeed and Sepahi Babar. May they live in eternal peace. Because of these sacrifices does Pakistan live,” he said in a tweet.
Later, PM Shehbaz also paid tributes to the martyrs who lost their lives in the Bannu operation and said, “Resurgence in terrorism poses a renewed threat to our national security. Our valiant security forces are fully capable of dealing with this threat.”
Separately, he said in his statement that while the primary responsibility for law and order lay with provinces, the federal government “cannot turn a blind eye to these serious issues”.
He assured that the Centre would work together with provinces to fight terrorism.
“The National Action Plan will be fully implemented to end terrorism in the country,” he said, acknowledging that increasing the capacity and efficiency of provincial governments was important for the eradication of terrorism.
In this connection, he added that the federal government would assist in improving the professional capacity of CTDs in all provinces.
“The federal government will work with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to restructure its Counter Terrorism Department,” he said, adding that all facilities would be provided to the CTD, including modern weapons.
‘Martyrs’ sacrifices won’t go to waste’
The premier also appreciated the armed forces’ response to terrorism, saying that the “entire nation will end terrorism by supporting its brave forces”.
“The sacrifices of the martyrs will not go to waste,” he continued, adding: “The great sacrifices of the armed forces, police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies that the rendered for the motherland cannot be forgotten.”
PM Shehbaz also noted that Operations Zarb-i-Azb and Raddul Fasaad were important initiatives taken to end terrorism in the country.