Imran planned to settle TTP fighters in ex-Fata

Published January 11, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan speaks during a seminar organised by the Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa governm­ent on terrorism in the federal capital on Tuesday. — Screengrab/PTI YouTube
Former prime minister Imran Khan speaks during a seminar organised by the Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa governm­ent on terrorism in the federal capital on Tuesday. — Screengrab/PTI YouTube

• PTI chairman says KP police ill-equipped to counter militants armed with modern weaponry
• Claims Wazirabad JIT members being ‘pressurised’ to disown findings

ISLAMABAD: As he war­ned against the dangers of destabilisation in Afgha­nis­tan, former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday revealed that his governm­ent had planned to resettle banned Tehreek-i-Tali­ban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal districts with the help of the Afghan Taliban, but the plan hit a snag owing to non-cooperation of provinces.

Speaking during a seminar organised by the Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa governm­ent on terrorism in the federal capital, the PTI chairman said that the gov­­e­r­n­ment had planned to relocate at least 5,000 TTP fighters and their family members which amount to about 35,000. But the plan did not materialise as provinces refused to foot the bill, he added.

Initially, Sindh and Balo­ch­istan refused to give 3 per cent share from Natio­nal Finance Commission (NFC) for the uplift of tribal districts and then the federal government stop­ped its cooperation after the PTI’s ouster, he claimed.

The PTI chairman stated the fall of Kabul and rise of the Afghan Taliban to power provided Pakistan with a golden opportunity to deal with the TTP threat. “The Afghan Taliban pressurised the TTP, which had over 5,000 fighters among its 40,000-strong group, to go back to Pakistan and we took a number of steps to deal with it,” he said.

Mr Khan said that there was an anti-merger group in tribal areas and the PTI wanted to launch uplift projects to satisfy the anti-merger group, but the lack of funds didn’t lead to anything significant in this regard.

Militants and KP police

The former prime minister lashed out at the federal government for its statements against Afghanistan and warned that if Kabul stopped its cooperation then the situation would aggravate.

“If we cannot continue good relations with Afghanistan, the new war on terror will become a curse for us. I said ‘absolutely not’ [to supposed request for US bases in Pakistan] because I wanted to save Pakistanis because while drone attacks were allowed, in retaliations Pakistanis were killed,” he said.

The PTI chairman, whose government is in power in KP, said it was impossible for the provincial police to counter TTP militants who were using US-made weaponry. “Rangers are in Karachi till date,” he said referring to the deployment to the paramilitary force in Sindh.

“I had warned that entire Pakistan would suffer if terrorism started in KP. However funds were not given to us,” he said, adding that hundreds of KP police officials had lost their lives to terrorism when PTI came to power in 2013. He said that military operation was part of the peace agreement but it should be used as a last resort.

He said the militants, created by military dictator Ziaul Haq, imposed war on Pakistan after dictator Pervez Musharraf took a U-turn and sided with the US.

“We took 180-degree turn during the Pervez Musharraf era and after the Tora Bora incident; Mujahideen entered Pakistan and alleged that Pakistan was the collaborator and imposed a war on us,” he added.

In a separate tweet, Mr Khan alleged that the investigation team probing the Wazirabad attack was being pressurised. “As per media reports, JIT members being pressurised to distance themselves from the findings of JIT investigating assassination plot against me. This further confirms my conviction that powerful quarters were behind the assassination attempt on me.”

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2023

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