LAHORE - Following the death of Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike, the police have intensified the security for the very, very important persons (VVIPs) including Punjab Chief Minister to fend off any possible terror assault.

“Leading politicians are facing serious threats (by militants) since the new government came into power. We already have made proper security arrangements for the VVIPs to ensure foolproof security,” Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khan Baig told this reporter by phone on Saturday. He said the personnel of law enforcement agency have been put on their toes and “We have taken unprecedented security measures to maintain peace.”

Taliban vowed to target Punjab province as revenge after death of TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud. The intelligence officials forwarded the threat-alerts to Punjab Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, IGP, and CM’s Secretariat, urging the authorities to step up security for the VVIPs and high-profile personalities.

An official of the Punjab Home Department said that in addition to 50 Elite Force personnel at least 14 newly-inducted commandoes were already doing security duties with the chief minister. “They are highly trained in security affairs. Some of them are retired armed forces personnel,” the official added.

Security has been put on high alert across the country after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan threatened to avenge the killing of their top commander.

An official in the Central Police Office (CPO) said that the Sharif family was on the hit list of the terrorists and the militants could target leading politicians to avenge the killing of Mehsud. The intelligence agencies also warned the provincial governments that the terrorists were planning to assassinate high-profile personalities including Punjab Chief Minister, Governor, and top judges as well.

Hundreds of policemen are providing security to Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and family while over two 2000 cops are deployed on the routes during the VVIP movement in Lahore on daily basis.

Sources said that at least 350 personnel of the Punjab Elite Force, 444 jawans of the Lahore police and Punjab Constabulary are on-guard at the private residences of the Sharif family located in the Raiwind, Model Town, and DHA areas.

On the other hand, majority of the religious and public places are left at the mercy of militants as there is no visible police deployment since the police are focusing on the security of VVIPs.

Sources also revealed that many VIPs, and VVIPs were requested by the security agencies to restrict their movement and avoid unnecessary traveling. Since the intelligence agencies had conveyed to the Punjab CM that he was on the hit list of the terrorists, the leading politicians were also asked to inform the concerned quarters before visiting any place.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday disclosed to the reporters that the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were continuously receiving threats from terrorists. The minister added that the holy month of Muharram was at stake as there was a risk for terror activities.

Security experts say that war on terrorism provided an opportunity to the enemies of the country to conduct proxy war against Pakistan. “This dirty war is bleeding Pakistan, inflicting losses to security forces and hurting the innocent civilians, women and children,” they said. They say that anti-Pakistan forces are supporting some TTP leaders to undertake suicide attacks or use IEDs for blasts in sensitive areas inside Pakistan.

Recently US-led Nato/Isaf commander endorsed Pakistan’s assessment and viewpoint that Kabul-New Delhi nexus was harboring safe havens across the Durand Line. He further contended that hostile agencies in connivance with Afghan NDS conduct subversive activities inside Pakistan to derail the peace process between the government and TTP.

The arrest of Latifullah Mehsud by US Special Forces revealed that terrorist attack in Upper Dir targeting Major General Sanaullah Khan Niazi was undertaken by agencies hostile to Pakistan. He further proclaimed that terrorist attacks against Peshawar Church, in Qissa Khawani Bazaar and on the bus of Peshawar Secretariat staff were also planned and sponsored by hostile intelligence agencies.

It may be mentioned here that at least 23 TTP commanders arrested by Pak Army during Operation Rah-e-Raast in Swat, had revealed that foreign elements were involved in supporting militants in Pakistan to conduct target killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, assaults on civil and military installations, and forced abductions including ethnic and sectarian violence.