PESHAWAR, Aug 25: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is in the front line of the country’s fight against terrorism but its police have no mechanism to track attackers or other outlaws before cracking down on them.
A senior official of the provincial investigation department told Dawn on Saturday that in absence of a proper criminal tracking system, police struggled to find clues about terrorists, kidnappers and anti-social elements.
He said over the years, the government had used its development funds to improve security situation as hundreds of policemen had been killed and injured since 2008. Of them, many were senior officials, he added.
The official said terrorist networks could easily be busted but police had no equipment for monitor them round the clock.
He said the government didn’t take counterterrorism seriously otherwise it would have facilitated police.
“Billions of rupees have been spent in the name of law and order over the last four years but criminal tracking system has yet not provided to law-enforcers,” he said.
The official said the government knew well about the importance of tracking system and police department had many times requested for the provision of the facility but to no avail.
He said Sindh and Punjab had already acquired the system and Sindh even had two such systems in place.
“The system can easily be secured from foreign donors, especially the US, if the government has a desire,” he said, adding that police had to work along traditional lines to fight crime, including terrorism.
He said police had to approach cellular companies, PTCL or intelligence agencies if they wanted to know the location of wanted outlaws.
The official said if police had a proper tracking system, they could easily crack down on outlaws but in its absence, they had to get a clue about them before following them for arrest.
“We get a clue and seek cooperation of telephone companies and as a result, precious time is wasted and gangsters reach safer places,” he said.
Another investigator referred to a case about the murder of Afghan national Sharif, who was gunned down in limits of Paharipura police station after being trapped by virtue of a woman.
He said police tracked killers after around a month of the murder and had there been a tracking system, they would have been found and arrested within five days because the deceased’s cellphone was used by the woman.
The official said the government should provide investigators with the latest equipment for crime and terrorism control. He said lack of cooperation on part of medicolegal experts also caused delay in investigation.
The official said in case police got the latest tracking system, outlaws could be arrested shortly after crimes. Provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain couldn’t be contacted despite repeated attempts.
However, Peshawar SSP (operations) Tahir Ayub confirmed that police had no criminal tracking system.
He, however, said police might get the facility soon as the government had accepted their request for it.
The SSP said Peshawar was surrounded by tribal areas and outlaws easily entered there after committing crime.
“Once criminals reach tribal areas, proceeding against them there without the cooperation of the respective political administrations is not possible,” he said.