LAHORE: Dera Ghazi Khan region police are on high-alert following reports that the banned terrorist organisation Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has launched a new wing comprising highly-trained, well-equipped and ferocious militants, to specifically target the Punjab police personnel to make inroads into the province’s territory.

As per well-placed sources, at least three DG Khan check posts — Lakhani, Jhangi and Triman — situated in the hard tribal areas along the provincial borders, have especially become vulnerable because of the emerging threat of the new TTP wing.

Given the seriousness of the threat, various military and civil agencies have also been involved in devising a strategy to combat the TTP wing, which, the sources say, is responsible for some recent deadly attacks on the law-enforcement agencies personnel in Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

A senior official told Dawn on Sunday that the TTP, after launching the outfit named ‘Istrna’, which is focusing on targeted attacks on Punjab’s law enforcement agencies, has increased its influence and fear among the local tribal people.

DG Khan RPO confirms the existence of new TTP group

He says that initially, the group comprised only 10 to 12 militants, however, some recent intelligence reports suggest that its strength has now increased to around 50.

The official says the militants of Istrna wing used some local hostages as human shield to enter the DG Khan territory in an attack carried out on the Jhangi border post of Vohawa police station in Taunsa Circl early on last Tuesday, surprising the police. It was also reported that these militants were provided food supplies by some local tribal people, he adds.

He says that the intelligence sources have informed that the group has also made contacts with the notorious Ladi criminal gang in Kutcha area, inviting the criminals to join it to carry out attacks on police check posts.

The official further revealed that the militants planned attack on Jhangi check post after the KP police retreated 13 kilometres away from several border check posts located near DG Khan.

Sensing gravity of the situation, he say, the Pakistan Army has also increased its presence in the DI Khan’s troubled areas to counter the TTP wing, besides the BLA militancy. Taking notice of this group’s activities, he says that Additional IG, Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Wasim Sial visited the DG Khan and held meetings with the police high-ups.

The official claims that the new TTP offshoot has also links with a militant group based in a neighbouring country.

He says that the brash attack on Jhangi check post has exposed the inadequacies of local police. He adds that the militants seem to be better equipped and have the latest ammunition, as compared to the local police.

He says that the DG Khan police have no Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) for safe transportation of policemen to the combat zones and to check militants’ infiltration into Punjab’s tribal areas from DI Khan.

He says that the only APC being used by local police was brought from Rajanpur that was procured in the 1980s and is considered unsafe for transportation of personnel who have to fight the trained militants equipped with the latest arms in the complex hilly terrain of DG Khan.

DG Khan Regional Police Officer Sajjad Hussain Manj confirmed the existence of the new TTP group, saying that local police were using all available resources to trace and eliminate these militants.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...
Injustice undone
Updated 13 Jul, 2024

Injustice undone

The SC verdict is a stunning reversal of fortunes for a party that was, both before and after general elections, being treated as a defunct entity.
Looming flour shortage
13 Jul, 2024

Looming flour shortage

FOR once, it is hard to argue against the reason that compelled flour mills to call a nationwide strike from...
Same old script
13 Jul, 2024

Same old script

WHEN it comes to the troubling issue of enforced disappearances/ missing persons — either Baloch or belonging to...