PESHAWAR -- Police are recertifying all renters throughout Peshawar to prevent terrorists from hiding out in the city.
Since the start of the campaign in April, police have recertified 750 houses in Hayatabad alone, officials said Wednesday (June 26).
Under the KP Restriction of Rented Buildings (Security) Act 2014, tenants living in rented houses are required to register with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police as part of an effort to counter terrorism and crime. All police stations in the province have been registering such tenants over the last four years.
The recent recertification drive began after police discovered that a group of suspected terrorists had used forged documents to rent a house in Phase-VII Hayatabad, allegedly for use as a base of operations.
Security forces killed five terrorists and arrested a suspect during the 16-hour-long encounter. A police officer and a soldier were killed and another soldier wounded.
A suspected member of the gang whom police arrested later told the court that terrorists in the house were plotting attacks.
"Special teams headed by one assistant sub-inspector each have been assigned to recheck the data and record of the tenants in the provincial capital in a bid to deny bases to terrorists in Peshawar," said KP Police Deputy Inspector Gen. Qazi Jamil ur Rehman.
The force has reverified the data of hundreds of houses in the provincial capital so far, he said.
As part of the effort, police conducted 12 search-and-strike operations in Hayatabad and arrested 105 suspects for interrogation. Another 180 were charged for residing as tenants without Tenant Information Forms, he added.
Police verified the data of 350 private security guards in Hayatabad as well as of 32 newspaper hawkers, Rehman said.
"Police parties in our street checked the houses in our neighbourhood and reverified the details that the tenants had already submitted to the police station and at the Police Assistance Lines," said Asad Ali, a 27-year-old resident of Phase-I in Hayatabad.
Locals were concerned after they found out about the alleged terrorist activities in the township, he said.
"The entire township was gripped by fear when the 16-hour-long operation was being carried out in Phase-VII," said Ali, adding those involved in fake documentation must be penalised.
"We rechecked hundreds of houses during the last few months to verify the details submitted by the tenants in rented buildings and to make sure no unregistered person is living in the city on forged documents," said Deputy Superintendent of Police Peshawar Atiq Shah.
Police accelerated search-and-strike operations in recent months to ensure no suspicious persons are in the area, he added.
"The goal is that police should know of everyone living in the city and that no one has a chance to misuse any rented building," said Shah.
Peshawar is not the only city clamping down.
"Apart from rented buildings, we are checking hotels and inns regularly to know about those staying in our district," said District Police Officer Mardan Sajjad Khan.
Officers are making sure to check all such places during search-and-strike operations and routine policing, he said.
"The measures taken by the police in the recent years, including actions under the KP Restriction of Rented Buildings Act, have helped return peace to KP," Khan said.