PESHAWAR: As some semblance of normalcy returned to Bannu on Wednesday, a day after an operation against terrorists, the under-fire KP government refused to accept the blame for the resurgence of terrorism, saying it was the responsibility of the Centre to tackle the issue.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in a media talk declared that ‘fighting militancy’ was the mandate of the federal government.

Meanwhile, President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army chief Gen Syed Asim Munir, separately, paid tribute to the soldiers who took part in the operation at the CTD centre in Bannu on Tuesday.

The KP chief minister explained that it was the Centre’s job to fight militancy since the institutions fighting [against militants] fell within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

“Crime and law and order situation is the provincial government’s job but militancy falls within their [federal government’s] domain and hence this is their responsibility,” he maintained.

Besides, the chief minister claimed that the federal government was reluctant to release funds for both current and developmental expenditures. “Neither do we receive the current nor the developmental expenditures [funding],” he said and alleged that the funds were being diverted to the federal government’s members of parliament.

Endorsing the CM’s views, the KP government’s spokesperson told a press briefing that the police’s job was to counter routine crimes and ‘national security’ was beyond its mandate.

He said the incident that took place inside the Bannu CTD centre fell within the definition of ‘national security’ which was the federal the government’s domain.

“This is not something about general law and order…it falls within the domain of the national security which is the responsibility of the federal government,” CM Adviser on Information Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said.

In reply to a question about the recently held talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan, the special assistant said that war had never ended since 2001 and dialogue was an attempt to further improve the situation but a permanent solution [to militancy] could not be found.

“The reason for dialogue with them [TTP] was to improve the situation,” Mr Saif said, adding that war never ended, though its intensity fluctuated. “We wanted a permanent solution but it did not happen,” he said while explaining the reason for holding talks with the Taliban.

A KP minister, however, appeared to have a different stance, reported APP.

Kamran Bangash at a presser reiterated the provincial government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and said the government was taking pragmatic steps to improve the capacity of police and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Referring to the terrorist attack on the CTD compound, he said police and security forces had already shared information about the possible terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff Gen Syed Asim Munir met the officers and soldiers, who were injured during the Bannu operation, at the CMH Rawalpindi, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations release.

The COAS remained with them for some time and inquired about their well-being.

He appreciated their high spirit and morale and lauded their professionalism during the operation against the terrorists.

Pledge against terrorism

President Alvi lauded the security forces for carrying out a successful operation against terrorists in Bannu and expressed the resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country’s soil, APP reported.

The president, in a statement, termed the success a result of the professionalism of security forces and their unwavering commitment against terrorism.

In separate remarks, Prime Minister Sharif said the state would not surrender to any terrorist group or organisation and vowed that militants would be dealt with according to the Constitution and law.

Strongly condemning the activities of terrorists, he said such attempts would be crushed.

“We will not let the sacrifices of the martyrs go to waste,” he said and mentioned the military operations of Raddul Fasaad and Zarb-i-Azb as significant measures to eradicate terrorism.

The prime minister said that though main responsibility for law and order lies with the provinces, the federation could not turn a blind eye to such problems.

He assured the provinces that the federal government would work along with them in fighting terrorism and vowed to fully implement the National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism.

PM Shehbaz said the federal government would assist the provinces in improving the professional capacity of the anti-terrorism force and departments.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2022

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