Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General (IG) Akhtar Hayat Khan said on Monday that Swat police had arrested a terrorist and a “local facilitator” involved in a shootout in Swat’s remote area of Banjot last month, during which “some [militants] had managed to flee” an hours-long police operation.
On May 23, residents of the mountainous area in Manglawar union had alerted police after seeing some suspected people.
“Upon receiving the information, police and security forces reached the area. We launched a joint operation against the suspected armed persons, but the area is so complicated and remote that they managed to flee,” Swat district’s police officer, Shafiullah Gandapur had told Dawn at the time.
A citizen was killed in the incident.
IG Akhtar said while addressing a press conference in Swat today that the counter-terrorism department and police had used all available technical resources to arrest the militants who had fled in the incident and as a result, a militant, identified as Rafiullah alias Jawad, and a facilitator, identified as Asmatullah, were arrested.
He said both of them were residents of Charbagh and the group they were associated with had been involved in extortion and target killing. This group, the IG added, also had links with the militant Saleem Rabbani group.
IG Akhtar further stated that another militant associated with the two arrested men, Zakirullah, had joined the Swat chapter of outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan last year.
“He was also involved in the [Banjot] incident and search for him is under way.”
Regarding Rafiullah, the IG said he had moved to Afghanistan along with his family in 2012. He returned to Swat last year and used forged documents to declare himself as the son of a resident in Pakistan, IG Akhtar added.
He further stated that Rafiullah had crossed the Torkham border multiple times using fake documents and was trained in Afghanistan.
Sharing details of other incidents that the arrested men had been involved in, the IG said weapons were seized from them in large quantities.
“They had kept the weapons in very safe, weather-proof containers … in mountains … to use them in subsequent operations,” he added.
Moreover, he also shared a list of individuals who he said were on the detained men’s target list. Among them, he added, was a constable on Buner police as they were “suspicious that he had been informing about their routes”.
The IG said they had admitted to collecting extortion money from former MPAs and and confessed that they planned hand grenade attacks on their houses.
“Their objective behind all this was to create and environment of fear and terror and create and widen a breach … between the people and institutions,” IG Akhtar said.
He said during the investigation, two “shortcoming” were highlighted: the infiltration of militants through the border on the basis of false identities and local facilitation.
Both of these would be addressed, he added.