PESHAWAR, Feb 23: In view of the recent surge in terrorist activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial cabinet decided on Wednesday to increase police presence in and around Peshawar.

Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told journalists after the cabinet meeting that it was convened to review the prevailing law and order situation.

He noted that during the last three months an increase was witnessed in terror activities in the province, particularly in Peshawar.The cabinet, he said, also decided to approach Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to convene meeting of Strategic Oversight Committee, for approving a Malakand-like package for capacity building of law enforcement agencies in Peshawar and southern districts.

The Home and Tribal Affairs secretary and provincial police chief gave presentations to the provincial cabinet about the current situation, challenges and future strategy to counter militancy in the province.

In 2009, two hundred cases of terrorism were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. That figure declined to 101 in 2010. But, during last three months 71 acts of terrorism were reported in the province. “It is a worrisome development,” the minister said.

He said that recent surge in militancy was a result of Mohmand operation. Citing intelligence reports, the minister said that militants were able to re-establish their networks. “Their local operatives have been asked to carry out r subversive acts in Peshawar and elsewhere,” he added.

He said low conviction ratio of people charged with militancy was also a cause of regrouping of militants. “The conviction ratio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was just two per cent, which now has been increased to four per cent,” he said.

“I don't know what sort of evidence the court needed, if a person is caught red-handed with explosives and suicide jackets and the person (police) who is arresting him is providing evidence, then what else they need,” he questioned. He said that government won battle against militancy through political and militarily means and now it would have to be won in the court of law.The cabinet, he said, expressed satisfaction over the performance of police. He said that number of police force had been increased from 40,000 to 80,000, while they had been equipped with sophisticated weapons and logistics.

He said that presence of police around Peshawar would be increased. The law enforcers would conduct more patrolling in areas like Achani, Spain Kamar, Shabqadar and Jani Khwar areas of FR Peshawar. Similarly, police would conduct search operations in selected sites in the provincial capital, he maintained.

The cabinet also approved deployment of two platoons of Frontier Constabulary for protection of Kohat Tunnel, he said. He said that more police stations and checkposts would be set up in southern districts to ensure proper security there.

The provincial cabinet also expressed concern over unabated power outages and directed the chief secretary to hold meetings with the high ups of Wapda and find out ways to resolve problems of consumers, he added. The meeting issued directives to all commissioners and DCOs to keep strict vigil on prices of essential commodities.

About the rehabilitation of flood survivors, the cabinet was informed that out of total of 287,000 Watan Cards, about 210,000 were distributed among the deserving people.

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