PESHAWAR: Three militants, including two ringleaders, involved in the abduction of a district and sessions judge rece­ntly were killed by security forces in Tank district on Thursday, the military’s media wing said.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a joint intelligence-based operation was conducted following reports about the presence of alleged kidnappers in the area.

Following an intense exchange of fire with the militants, security forces killed two ringleaders, identified as Azmat alias Azmatay and Karamat alias Hanzla.

The third militant was identified as Rehan, according to the ISPR.

They were actively invo­l­ved in militant activities in the area, including the abduction of South Waziris­tan’s District and Sessions Judge Shakir­ullah Marwat.

The judge was kidnapped by gunmen from the Garah Mohabaat Adda area of Dera Ismail Khan district on April 27 when around 10 to 15 mot­orcyclists intercepted his vehicle on the D.I. Khan-Tank Road.

He was reportedly recovered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) after remaining in the captivity of the Taliban for almost 48 hours.

Hours before his release, the judge, in a video message, requested the federal and provincial governments, besides chief justices of the Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court, to accept the abductors’ demands for his safe release.

However, sources and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spokesperson Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif claimed the judge had been released unconditionally.

“He has been released almost unconditionally. He was set free and was later shifted to his home,” sources had told Dawn. However, they refused to comment further on the issue.

Dera Ismail Khan, the hometown of KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, has witnessed an uptick in attacks on police and other law enforcement agencies over the past few months. Last week, 12 law enforcement personnel, including eight Pakistan Customs officials, were slain in separate attacks in the district.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2024

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