Security forces may expedite their operation against criminals, militants and their facilitators in Punjab in coming weeks following Sindh provincial government's agreement to expand the ongoing Karachi operation to the rest of the province. Sources privy to the developments told Business Recorder that the operation against nefarious elements in Punjab is ongoing but its pace would be accelerated especially against sectarian and proscribed outfits.
"An effective intelligence based crackdown against militants is already under way in which scores of militants have either been killed or arrested," said an official of Punjab Home Department who requested not to be named. A latest meeting of the Punjab Apex Committee was held on November 26 in Lahore where performance of the law enforcement agencies was reviewed. The apex committee resolved to root out terrorism, extremism and sectarianism and it was agreed to expand the scope of operation against facilitators of terrorists.
The sources said that so far more than 48,000 cases have been registered, while 53,151 accused have been arrested for various offences including hate speech, wall chalking, display of arms and other offences across Punjab under the National Action Plan.
The sources said that important decisions regarding the implementation and acceleration of the National Action Plan would be taken in the next meeting of the apex committee.
Pakistan army recently expressed serious reservations over the slow implementation of NAP by the civilian government. The federal government responded by arguing that it was a shared responsibility of both civilian government and the army to root out terrorism and extremism.
After a recent attack on Military Police personnel in Karachi, Sindh Apex Committee decided to expand the scope of the operation by going after criminal elements hiding in interior Sindh. The recent decisions taken by provincial government in the wake of the army's resentment over poor governance, according to independent analysts, may be the reason for the expulsion of Sharjeel Inaam Memon from the cabinet and some other tough decisions as well.
MQM Senator Colonel Tahir Hussain Mashhadi (Retd) said that the steps announced by the provincial government of Sindh during the recent apex committee meeting would give new strength to the ongoing operation against criminals. "The government needs to take serious measures, as the military has almost completed its task under the NAP," he said, adding that it was now on the civilian government to show sincerity in eliminating terrorists.
Mashhadi, however, added that the operation clean-up must be expanded to the entire country wherever the terrorists and their sympathisers are, including Punjab. "Criminal elements and terrorists are not only in Karachi; therefore, action should also be taken against them in other parts of the country without any discrimination," he added.