The Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested 12 alleged terrorists, belonging to the banned Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it said in a statement released on Friday.

The statement added that they were arrested during a “covert operation” from three cities of the province, including Lahore, from where three “terrorists” were arrested “nearby a sensitive area”.

The CTD spokesperson said the “terrorist network wanted to conduct subversive activities in sensitive districts”.

Explosives and material used to make suicide jackets were also recovered from the alleged terrorists, the statement added.

The CTD said they were identified during the interrogation of 61 suspects. Investigations were under way after registering a case against them, it further said.

In the current week, 797 combing operations have been conducted, during which 159 suspects have been arrested, the CTD stated.

The CTD asserted: “No stone will be left unturned in making terrorist elements reach their end.”

Heightened security concerns

Over the past few months, the law and order situation in the country — especially in KP and Balochistan has worsened — with terrorist groups executing attacks with near impunity across the country.

Since the talks with the TTP broke down in November, the militant group has intensified its attacks, particularly targeting the police in KP and areas bordering Afghanistan. Insurgents in Balochistan have also stepped up their violent activities and formalised a nexus with the outlawed TTP.

An attack by the outlawed TTP on Karachi Police Headquarters was the most high-profile attack in the month of February. A month before that, a powerful suicide blast in a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines killed 84 people and injured many others.

According to a report released recently by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), militant attacks witnessed a surge in the month of February this year, but the resultant deaths were down as compared to January.

The report said Punjab witnessed four militant attacks in which two people were killed and eight injured while 10 people were killed and 18 injured in three reported militant attacks in Sindh.

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