PESHAWAR: After analysing the overall law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the outgoing year, the police department has declared South and North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu districts as terrorist trouble spots.

“Southern districts, including North and South Waziristan [from among the newly-merged tribal districts] as well as Lakki Marwat and Bannu districts [from settled areas], are trouble spots,” additional inspector general of police (operations) Mohammad Ali Babakhel told reporters here on Friday.

Mr Babakhel said that the annual analysis of the security situation revealed a surge in the number of extortion calls from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of Pakistan’s Western neighbouring country.

He also said that the number of targeted attacks against police increased in 2022 compared with the previous year.

Official says most extortion calls made from Afghanistan

The police official said that the exit of foreign troops, including the US and allies, from Afghanistan left behind arms worth Rs7 billion that were “bound to end up in someone’s hands.”

He said that the number of suicide attacks in the province

also escalated in the outgoing year, while most of the extortion calls received by the local residents were made from Afghanistan.

“Our neighbourhood [Afghanistan] is primarily the origin of extortion calls. Some local criminals were also involved in these crimes,” he said.

Mr Babakhel said that the counter-terrorism department arrested 158 extortionists wanted in 81 cases, while 62 suspects were taken into custody for kidnapping people for ransom.

He said that the CTD arrested 806 militants, including 90 with head money, and killed 196 militants during operations in the province.

The police official said that 2,609 “threat alerts” were issued with 93 per cent of them being general and six specific.

He also said 129 alerts involved people and 41 alerts were for different locations.

Mr Babakhel said that 118 police personnel were killed and 117 suffered injuries in operations against criminals, including terrorists.

He also said that the police arrested around 129,637 outlaws and seized 22,416 weapons and 511,447 rounds of bullets in 20,601 “search and strike operations” across the province in the outgoing year.

“The presence of militants in Swat and other Malakand areas was reported by the media, and everyone saw an immediate response to it by our police,” he said.

The police official said the police carried out a total of 1,877 search and strike operations and 148 intelligence-based operations in Malakand district during 2022 leading to the killing and arrest of several militants and extortionists.

He said that it was the top priority of the police to promote public policing and establish a prosperous and peaceful society in the province.

Mr Babakhel said that the anti-state elements and criminals didn’t deserve any concession, so the police bosses had ordered a strict crackdown on them according to the law.

He said the police had also been directed to ensure the maintaining of law and order.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2022

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