DERA ISMAIL KHAN -- Police in Dera Ismail Khan District have launched a reward campaign as part of an effort to hunt down wanted terrorists.
Police on June 25 began circulating posters announcing bounties worth a total of Rs. 4.5 million ($37,000) for information on wanted terrorists, seeking the public's support in finding those hiding throughout the district capital.
The bounties include Rs. 1.5 million ($12,000) for information leading to the arrest of Muhammad Ilyas, also known as Haji Ilyas Waseem.
Police are offering Rs. 1 million ($8,000) each for his son, Yasir Ilyas, also known as Amir Ilyas, and Abu Bakar Gernadi. Bounties of Rs. 500,000 ($4,000) are being offered for information on both Nisar Tani and Shamim Qadir.
Local residents have welcomed the initiative, saying it will contribute to the arrests of criminals involved in terrorist acts and restore the confidence of the public.
"It's a great step to go after dreaded terrorists who have made life miserable," said Damsal Khan Gandapur, an advocate at the Peshawar High Court.
The police initiative to gain public support in the hunt for wanted terrorists will go a long way in curbing terror networks and their supporters in the settled areas, he told Pakistan Forward. "Most of these [terrorists] have disguised themselves as commoners, so the locals will be helpful in going after them."
Any anti-state elements need to be identified and eliminated with the support of locals and law enforcement agencies, said Sheikh Taqueer Ahmed, an independent candidate running for a National Assembly seat in Constituency NA-39 (Dera Ismail Khan-II).
The announcement of the bounties by the police is a good omen as it will encourage locals to help identify terrorists, he told Pakistan Forward.
"It is also our national responsibility to help law enforcement agencies in hunting down wanted terrorists, and such campaigns will prove decisive in maintaining peace in settled Pakistan," Ahmed said.
The fallout from insecurity in the neighbouring Waziristan districts has been felt in the city, said Adnan Aziz, a lawyer in Dera Ismail Khan.
"Wiping out terrorists from South and North Waziristan is a great win, but the real challenge is to bust the sleeper cells of the terrorists in the cities adjoining tribal areas," he told Pakistan Forward. "The law enforcement agencies are going in the right direction with the announcement of the [bounties]."
Terror networks can be smashed only when the general public supports law enforcement agencies, he said, adding that these steps will prove decisive in winning the war on terror.