- One policeman martyred while three are injured, say sources.
- Internet services suspended in Bnanu.
- Roads leading to and from Bannu Cantonment blocked.
BANNU: Following a terrorist attack on the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) compound in Bannu, talks between Pakistani officials and the leadership of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are underway in Afghanistan, confirmed Mohammad Ali Saif, spokesperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, on Monday.
According to a foreign news agency, Pakistani authorities opened talks to try to resolve a stand-off with the TTP who were holding several security personnel hostage after seizing control of a counter-terrorism facility in the country’s northwest a day earlier.
“We are in negotiations with the central leaders of the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan,” said Saif.
The spokesperson warned of strict action if the armed men do not surrender.
Internet services have been suspended in Bannu and the roads leading to and from the Bannu Cantonment have been blocked.
Miranshah Road and Jumma Khan Road are closed for all sorts of movements. The sources have claimed that the terrorists are demanding a safe air route to Afghanistan.
16-member jirga left for Afghanistan
In a bid to defuse tension at Pak-Afghan Chaman border, a 16-member jirga comprising eminent clerics, local elders and traders left for Afghanistan to negotiate with the TTP’s leadership on Monday.
Talking to journalists ahead of leaving the country, Mufti Muhammad Qasim said they are carrying a “message of peace and friendship” with them.
“We received positive response from the Afghan authorities,” he added. The cleric added that loss of the common man is not in anyone’s interest.
Following the contacts and negotiations, the ongoing tension would be defused, hoped Malik Abdul Khaliq Achakzai.
Four police personnel martyred
A day earlier, four police personnel were martyred and as many others wounded in an overnight terrorist attack on the Bargai Police Station of Lakki Marwat area.
Terrorists launched an armed assault on the police station from two sides. A fierce exchange of fire took place between the police and the outlaws that left four policemen dead and as many injured.
The attackers escaped after the assault. Police have launched a search operation in the area for the saboteurs.
Constables Ibrahim, Imran, Khairur Rahman and Sabz Ali are among the deceased.
Law and order situtaion in KP
The law and order situation in KP has gone south over the last few weeks as an increase has been noticed in threats and attacks on security forces as well as high-profile political personalities.
According to a The News report, the police are on high alert across the province after the recent spike in attacks in areas including Peshawar, southern districts, and the Mardan region.
The publication, citing a source, said: “Apart from the police, senior politicians have complained of receiving threats. The houses of some of them have also come under grenade attack.”
Provincial spokesperson of the Awami National Party (ANP) Samar Bilour has also shared that their provincial president Aimal Wali Khan had received a call about a plan of attack on his life.
Samar said that their leadership’s protection is the state’s responsibility, adding that they will be left with no other option but to take the protection of their leaders into their own hands if the state does not act.
“Apart from Aimal Wali Khan, Sardar Hussain Babak and others have received threats as well while the house of MPA Faisal Zeb was attacked twice in the last few weeks,” Samar Haroon Bilour had said last week.
Apart from the attack on the house of ANP MPA Faisal Zeb in Shangla, a grenade was hurled at the house of party Senator Hidayatullah in Peshawar in recent months.
The wave of terrorist attacks has risen across the province in the last few months, the report said. At least 118 terrorist incidents were reported in KP from mid-August till the last week of November, according to official numbers.
At least 26 policemen, 12 personnel of other law enforcement agencies and 17 civilians were killed in terror incidents across the KP. Moreover, 18 policemen, 10 civilians, and 37 law enforcement agencies personnel suffered injuries in these attacks.
A dozen districts, including Peshawar, Mardan, Bajaur, Mohmand, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Kohat, Bannu, and Nowshera came under attack in November.