Khyber Pakhtunkhwa security improves with military, police operations

By Javed Khan


Police and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) commandos conduct a security exercise in a school in Swabi District, KP, February 9. Police and the CTD carry out exercises in various public places to check police readiness and to sensitise the public on how to respond to a genuine attack. [Javed Khan]

PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has witnessed a significant improvement in law and order during the first six months of the year, according to police data.

With army and paramilitary forces carrying out operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), KP Police and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) have been doing their part with intelligence based operations throughout the province.

"Police and the CTD have played an important role in restoring peace in KP, where the law and order situation has further improved during the current year," CTD Deputy Inspector General Mubarak Zeb told Pakistan Forward.

A drop in terrorist attacks

From January 1 to June 30, 18 improvised explosive device (IED) blasts were reported in KP, according to police.

That figure represents a significant drop compared to the first six months of 2016, when 34 IED blasts were reported, and to the same period in 2015 (55 such explosions).

Terrorist attacks other than IEDs plummeted by 42% during the first six months of 2017 as compared to the same period last year, the statistics revealed.

A total of 57 "terrorist incidents/attacks" were reported so far this year, while 99 such attacks occurred during the first six months of last year and 98 in that part of 2015, according to the report.

Moreover, no vehicle-borne IED, rocket or missile attacks have taken place in KP so far this year, further evidence of the improved security situation.

"Between January 1 and April 30, four hand grenade attacks were reported in KP, compared to 11 last year, 14 in 2015 and 27 in 2014," said Zeb.

Authorities in KP recorded 24 terrorism related shootings in the first four months of 2017, compared to 35 during the same period in 2016, 31 in 2015 and 47 in 2014, according to Zeb.

Police ordered to accelerate counter-terror actions

KP Inspector General of Police Salahuddin Khan Mehsud received a detailed briefing at the end of April regarding the security situation and counter-terrorism operations in the province.

Mehsud said he appreciated the efforts of the CTD and police and directed police commanders to further accelerate actions against terrorist networks.

"All the senior and junior officers of the force have orders to increase intelligence based actions," he told Pakistan Forward.

"Operations under the National Action Plan [NAP] are being carried out all over the province so no terrorists can gain any shelter here," he said, referring to a counter-terrorism strategy in effect since January 2015.

Police reforms benefit law and order

The combination of successful military operations in FATA and the strengthened KP Police has helped improve law and order, say security analysts.

"One of the major factors for the improvement in the law and order situation in KP is professionalism and efficiency resulting from police reforms," former KP police chief Nasir Khan Durrani, Mehsud's predecessor, told Pakistan Forward.

The KP Police have enforced the law without discrimination, fear or favour over the past three years, he said.

"The police have been doing an excellent job of maintaining peace after gaining freedom from the [pressure of] politicians via the policy of non-interference in administrative and operational matters of the force," Durrani said.

KP Police and the CTD have played a major role in restoring peace not only province-wide but nationwide as well, he said.

"The military actions, installation of the border management system and intelligence based operations by the police and the CTD have improved the law and order situation in KP and all over Pakistan," Qaisar Khan, a Peshawar-based crime reporter, told Pakistan Forward, agreeing with Durrani.

Local police step up security

Local police have played a role in accelerating actions against terrorists, said Capital City Police Officer Peshawar Mohammad Tahir.

"Under the [NAP], 274 search and strike operations were carried out in Peshawar during the first four months of the year," he told Pakistan Forward.

During these operations, police rounded up 874 proclaimed offenders and about 5,000 other suspects, he said.

"Police have directed management of educational institutions and other sensitive buildings to improve their security, and action has been taken against 286 such places for not arranging adequate security," Tahir said.

Police have recovered large quantities of explosives and ammunition during various operations this year, he said.

"In a single action on May 8, police recovered 170 12.7mm anti-aircraft rounds, 10 mortar shells, and 19 rockets from Hassan Abad village in Peshawar," Tahir said.

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