LAHORE - A massive search and comb operation has been launched in the Punjab to stop infiltration of on-the-run terrorists of Bacha Khan University into the province, top security officials told The Nation yesterday.
According to the intelligence report issued on January 10, a group of 12 militants of TTP have entered Pakistan from Afghanistan under the command of Umar Naray and Khalid Umar to conduct subversive activities in Peshawar. But terror attacks by this group in other cities of the country also could not be ruled out.
The militants have been divided into two groups to launch terror attacks on educational institutions, airports, airbases and members of security forces as well as law-enforcing agencies, stated the key points of the intelligence report. Four militants who attacked the university were later killed in a gunbattle with the army’s Special Services Group.
The location of the remaining eight has not been traced as yet. The security agencies are of the hunch that on-the-loose militants could slip into Punjab . Keeping in view this assessment, an aggressive search and comb operation has been launched in the province, focusing on the provincial capital that houses major educational institutions in public and private sectors, media houses and key offices of both civil and military establishment as well as an international airport, said the key security officials.
Top security officials in the province told the paper the search and comb operation is being carried out jointly by civilian and military agencies. The civilian and military agencies have divided different regions in the province with special focus on Lahore for the search and comb operation. The other regions are Rawalpindi, Multan, Sargodha and Gujranwala divisions, they added.
A search and comb operation was conducted in some parts of Rawalpindi district on January 11 when a premier intelligence service with its technical gadgetry detected weapons cache. That operation was conducted with the help of Rangers.
The help of the Rangers has not so far been sought in this operation either by the civilian or the military agencies.
Counter-terror sections of key military and civilian intelligence services are part of the search operation with the provincial counter-terror department and the law enforcers, said the security officials.
More than a dozen locations, including educational institutions, key offices and media houses, have been identified as sensitive in the provincial capital. Extra efforts have been employed to keep vigil on these places to avert any untoward incident, said the security officials.
The terrorists who hit Bacha Khan University entered Pakistan from Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, one of the regions from where the splinters of TTP like Umar Naray, Mangal Bagh and others are operating. The other two provinces where TTP and Al-Qaeda nests exist are Kunar and Nooristan. Mullah Fazlullah, the disputed head of the TTP, operates mostly from Kunar, but all the terrorists who crossed over to Afghanistan keep on moving in the three provinces to avert drone strikes and other security forces’ raids.
Top military authorities of Pakistan have demanded of Kabul to eliminate Umar Naray, Mullah Fazlullah and others operating from Afghanistan or allow them to jointly raid their hideouts, said the security agencies sources.