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ISLAMABAD: In an alarming development, a parliamentary panel was informed on Thursday that militants could move to urban areas to unleash a new wave of terrorism in the wake of freezing winter conditions persisting in the mountains.

The shocking revelation was made during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior headed by Senator Mohsin Aziz, leaving the members speechless.

The deeply concerned members then asked the country’s premier security operatives to pay attention to the very existential challenges the country is faced with.

The security gurus who made a rare appearance before the parliamentary panel preferred not to mince any word to reveal that lack of support structure/logistics would prompt the militants to move from the woods to the roads.

However, the officials from Rana Sanaullah-led Interior Ministry made a futile attempt to pacify the enraged lawmakers by saying that “the militants were dispersed due to collective operation of the security and intelligence brass”.

In the same breath, the security sleuths rang the alarm bell that any morphing in the local population in adjoining areas needs to be monitored, furthermore, the presence of militants signifies resident facilitation in the area which needs to be countered through collective efforts of security apparatus.

Given the gravity of the situation, the panel pushed the officials for an in-camera briefing to hold a detailed discussion on the volatile security situation in the western borderlands of the country.

Matter pertaining to a starred question asked by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed regarding the closure of crossing points at Lower Dir and Bajaur including Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan at the Pak-Afghan border for transportation between the two countries was also taken up.

But the panel distanced itself from the issue, saying it does not relate to the interior committee and remitted the matter back to the secretariat to further refer it to the commerce and finance committee.

The matter of point of public importance raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed regarding the worsening law and order situation in Swat was also taken up.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) briefed the committee that the US withdrawal gave impetus to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) activities with its base intact in Afghanistan.

The committee in an unequivocal term said that “over rise in terrorism index was being witnessed”, adding the TTP, during the peace talks process “gained considerable ground and increased its footprint and magnitude of activities”.

It was also briefed that strong protests by masses in Swat paid off, adding the locals, especially the political leadership active against the militants need to be supported and protected through an institutional mechanism.

It was briefed that the traditional routes of the militants have also been tracked and cleared and 18 extra police forces are being deployed, adding peace jeep rallies were organised which helped in increasing tourism in the area.

The committee passed the Criminal Law (Amendment)Bill, 2022, unanimously, after adopting new recommendations as discussed in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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