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ISLAMABAD: As militants continued to take an unknown number of officials of Bannu Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) hostage after taking over the compound on Sunday, the federal and provincial government resorted to a blame game by shifting responsibility of the security onto each other.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman whose party is in the power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, took to Twitter to blame the federal government for its failure to deal with the “50 per cent increase” in terrorism in Pakistan.

“Apart from running our economy to the ground, this imported government has failed to deal with the 50 per cent increase in terrorism in Pakistan with incidents from Chaman to Swat to Lakki Marwat to Bannu. They have also failed to deal with attacks from the international Pak-Afghan border by security forces of a “friendly” Afghan government,” Imran Khan said in a tweet

He added while our soldiers, police and local people are giving daily sacrifices with their lives, the “worst part is that this increasing terrorist threat and attacks from across our western border are finding no space in the discourse of this government of a cabal of crooks.”

“All they are interested in is their NRO2 and its preservation. Therefore, despite economy tanking they are petrified of holding elections which is the only way to stabilise economy through political stabilisation,” the PTI chairman said in another tweet.

In his response to the PTI chairman’s tweets, Federal Minister for Planning and Development and senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said that law and other in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the responsibility of the provincial government and the said the CTD compound is in a rented building without even a grade 20 officer posted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) CTD.

“Imran Niazi always asks what Shahbaz Sharif did for Punjab? Law and order in KP is provincial government responsibility. CTD, KP is in a rented building without even a grade 20 officer posted as DIG CTD. PTI would always make lame excuses for covering its shortfalls and criminal negligence,” Iqbal said in a tweet.

Earlier, Special Assistant to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister (SACM) Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif rebuked Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and asked the federal government to refrain from “doing politics” on affairs of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“Chief Minister Mehmood Khan is leading Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a vigorous manner. The federal government must refrain from doing politics on the issues of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The [federal ministers] statements on terrorism is a failed attempt to divert attention from corruption. Rana Sanaullah has the “belt of the Sharif family around his neck”,” Saif said in a tweet.

“Rana Sana must stay in his limits, or else it will be his back and the streets of Islamabad. If the federal government pays the outstanding amount of the province, [then] we will spend on the police. We will further increase the capacity of the police against terrorism. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police have made many sacrifices,” he said in another tweet.

Talking about the demands of the militants, Saif said that the government would not fulfil any demand of the terrorists, adding that the situation is under control.

He said that the “beleaguered terrorists” wanted to get the public’s sympathy through messages.

“The situation in Bannu Cantt is under control of police and security agencies. People should not worry and do not pay any heed to rumours. There was no outside attack on the CTD center. The detained terrorists snatched weapons and took some police officers hostage. The government will not fulfill any demand of the terrorists,” he tweeted.

He said that the besieged terrorists want to get the sympathy of the public through video messages. It is better for the militants to lay down their weapons otherwise strict action will be taken. “Elements involved in terrorist activities will not be treated lightly,” said the Special Assistant to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister.

In a statement, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that their men through a video had demanded a safe passage to Afghanistan by “mistake”. The TTP spokesman demanded that the prisoners should be given safe passage either to South or North Waziristan, saying that they do not need to use Afghanistan’s soil.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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