PESHAWAR, Dec 8: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Wednesday declared almost half of the province as 'sensitive' and approved added security measures, involving army and helicopter gunships, to maintain law and order during Muharram.

According to the Muharram security plan, 12 districts of the province had been declared as 'sensitive', where extraordinary security arrangements would be put in place, Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a press conference. Security plan of the government was reviewed in the 26th provincial cabinet meeting, which was held with Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti in the chair. The provincial police officer briefed the cabinet about current security situation and future steps to maintain peace in the province.

The sensitive districts included Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu, Kohat, Haripur, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Nowshera, Mardan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Tank, the minister said.He said peace committees were mobilised in the sensitive areas to augment law enforcement agencies' efforts to maintain law and order during Muharram.

“Display of hate material and wall-chalking have been banned, hotels and inns is constantly being checked as well as special checkpoints have been set up in different parts of the province,” the minister said.

In addition to police, he said, 109 platoons of Frontier Reserve Police, 39 platoons of Elite Force and 800 retired army personnel would be deployed in the sensitive areas. Similarly, 41 platoons of Frontier Constabulary and 1,500 each personnel of Frontier Corps and Pak Army would be deployed along with police in the province, he added.

Mr Hussain said that army would also provide helicopter gunships for aerial surveillance of Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu and Kohat districts. The provincial cabinet also approved rewarding those political and social leaders, who were fighting terrorism in their respective areas, the minister said and added as a token of recognition of their services the government would allot plots to their families. The cabinet authorized the chief minister to decide allotment of plots on case to case basis, for which criteria would be devised by a scrutiny committee.

The cabinet also reviewed implementation of its previous decisions and the chief minister directed all the divisional commissioners to disburse the outstanding cash compensation to the legal heirs of those killed and injured in the subversive acts within a period of one month.

To a question, the minister said that complete elimination of terrorism would take at least 14 years; however, there were some positive signs as well.

“It seems that international forces and regional players may strike a deal that will result in formation of a national Afghan government and put a brake on militancy both in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. The positive development may take a year or two, he added.

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