The details of security forces’ operations against terrorists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over one month have come to light.
According to security officials, 306 terrorists were arrested in 136 operations during one month. Operations were conducted in Bajaur, Khyber, Swat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, South and North Waziristan.
According to officials, terrorists of the outlawed TTP have been arrested during the operation, and a large number of weapons have also been recovered from them. Security officials say that 2 thousand 975 Kalashnikovs, 18 thousand 388 rifles, 159 pistols, 2 thousand 274 heavy weapons, 83 pistols and 12 mm pistols have also been recovered from the arrested terrorists.
According to security officials, 74 rocket launchers, 67 hand grenades, 8 mortar shells, 5 light machine guns and 4 mines were also seized during the operation.
Earlier on April 7, 2023, Pakistan’s government announced plans to launch a nationwide operation to root out armed groups in the country, the National Security Committee (NSC) said.
The move is a potentially costly one for a country already facing full-blown economic and political crises.
“The [NSC] meeting agreed to launch an all-out comprehensive operation with [the participation of the] entire nation and government to rid the country of the menace of terrorism,” a news release from the prime minister’s office said.
Pakistan is in danger of defaulting on its debt, with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme stalled since November last year, while a bruising political battle is raging between the government and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The last time it launched an all-out operation against armed groups was in 2014, and it cost the country billions of dollars and resulted in more than a million people being displaced and hundreds being killed, Aljazeera reported.
The country has recently seen a rise in attacks on its security forces by the Pakistan Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) after it unilaterally ended a ceasefire agreement with the government in November last year.
This year, the group and its factions have unleashed a wave of attacks including a suicide bombing at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar that killed more than 100 people, mostly policemen.
The committee blamed the recent spate of attacks on the Pakistan Taliban and what it called a “thoughtless policy” towards the group – a reference to the decision to engage in talks with the Pakistan Taliban by the previous government.
“Terrorists were not just allowed to return to the country unimpeded but dangerous TTP militants were also released from jails in the name of confidence building,” the press release said.
The NSC said it held a meeting on Friday, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by the country’s military leadership, and formed a committee to make recommendations regarding the details of the anti-militant operations within two weeks.
Former Prime Minister Khan has been pushing for elections amid rising anger at the government about decades-high inflation and a crippling economic slowdown as it tries to navigate tough IMF-backed economic reforms.