LAHORE - Special sections have been created in the premier security services with the sole purpose of locating and neutralising on-the-run terrorists across the country, it is reliably learnt.

The contacts close to the security establishment privy to the development told The Nation on Monday that special sections had been created in the country’s elite security services involved in major special operations of Zarb-e-Azb.

According to them, newly formed special sections have specially been trained in surveillance of possible on-the-run terrorists to neutralise their hideouts in various regions of the country in the wake of operation Zarb-e-Azb and anti-terror operations in all the provinces.

Giving reasons for the creation of these new special sections, they remarked that it was not possible for the combined counterterrorism cells and units to eliminate the terrorists in the restive regions of the country and chasing on-the-run terrorists at the same time.

They added that cleansing specific disturbed regions of the country of terrorists was a difficult task, but chasing and locating on-the-run terrorists was more difficult than eliminating them in a certain region or area. Separate security sections to deal with on-the-run terrorists would further accelerate efforts against terrorism, they opined.

They said state-of-the-art security instruments for conducting electronic and technical surveillance had been put at the disposal of this new special unit. They added these special sections had been trained in the art of launching small-scale special operations with the combination of specialties of human intelligence and technical intelligence for taking out the deadly on-the-run enemies of the state.

Security establishment contacts added the mentioned special sections would operate independently without the assistance of the civilian security services, however, they were at liberty to get the help of the civilian security if they deemed it necessary.

A member of the apex committee, when contacted, confirmed the development and said military security services carried out some operations independently in the settled areas of the Punjab, Sindh and other provinces for lack of capacity of the civilian security services to deal with anti-terror operations against high-value targets. “But I didn’t mean that civilian security services are out of the picture while pursuing the goals of National Action Plan (NAP),” he said. “Civilian security services are part and parcel of the NAP which is in the process of capacity building with the assistance of the military security services,” he added.

About the anti-terror specific intelligence-gathering operations, he said: “Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s premier intelligence service, is leading the war on this front, while the army’s Military Intelligence (MI) is also playing its role with the help of key civilian secret service, Intelligence Bureau (IB), along with the intelligence arms of provincial counter-terrorism departments and special branches of the police.”

He added: “We can say there is a sort of intelligence commission operating in the lead role of the ISI disseminating ‘actionable intelligence’ gathered by its directorate to counter terrorism, besides gathering intelligence information of MI, IB, CTDs and special branches at one junction to send security advisories to the federal and provincial governments to deal with possible terrorist threats.”