Provide Rangers for Peshawar's security: CM Pervez Khattak
PESHAWER: To address the pressing issue of extortion throughout the province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has called for deployment of Rangers in Peshawar. Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak expressed that he had written a letter to the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to provide Rangers for Peshawar's security.
"The situation had improved considerably after Operation Zarb-i-Azab and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP). But the issue of extortion has cropped up again and a major group involved in extortion cases is operating from across the border," said the letter. At the same time, security troops are already deployed on the outskirts of Peshawar, the motorway and Indus Highway.
On the occasion, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak further expressed that he had recently discussed the issue of Afghan SIM cards being used in extortion calls with the Afghan ambassador Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal. In response, Mr Zakhilwal ensured that the man involved in the target killing of the President of Peshawar Trader's Association, Haji Haleem Jan would be handed over to Pakistani authorities.
Over 160 Afghan cell phone numbers are being used for making extortion calls to people including traders and industrialists in the provincial capital and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Traders, industrialists and other important figures in different parts of the province have been a target of the extortion calls. Those who refuse to pay the money are targeted by assassins and in some cases; the houses of a few who refused to pay extortion money were attacked with bombs. After their refusal, some of the people became victims of target killing too. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa authorities had sent a letter to the Interior Ministry last month to consult the issue with the neighbouring Afghan authorities. In addition, they had also sent a complete list of cellular numbers being used by the extortionists from across the border.
"It is requested to take up the matter with the government of Afghanistan through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for dismantling their bases and apprehending the miscreants involved in the menace of extortion," said the official letter by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Nasir Khan Durrani to the Secretary Ministry of Interior Arif Ahmad Khan. With regard to Operation Zarb-e-Azb and strong efforts from the police and Counter-Terrorism Department, a prominent 50 per cent decrease has been witnessed in 2015 compared to 2014. "The problem will persist till the issue of spill-over signals and cross border frequency interference is dealt with. There is a lot of discomfort and insecurity in the business community on account of cross-border extortion calls," the letter further added.
In January, heavy firing and several blasts were heard when four terrorists entered Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Charsadda town. According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Lt General Asim Bajwa, the terrorists who carried out the attack were using Afghan SIMs. One of the terrorists was receiving calls from Afghanistan even after he was killed. The ISPR Chief said that SIM cards and two mobile phones were recovered from the terrorists, which were traced and analyzed. General Bajwa claimed that the terrorists who carried out the attack were getting information from outside and were receiving calls from outside.