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4,695 illegal Afghan nationals, 4,634 suspects arrested in Peshawar

KABUL: Over 4,634 suspects and 4,695 unregistered Afghan national were arrested as more than 138 search and strike operations were carried out in the provincial capital alone under the National Action Plan (NAP) launched in the wake of the worst terrorist attack on the Army Public School in December last year, officials told The News.

Separately, according to statistics compiled from January 1 to May 5, as many as 175 Afghan prayer leaders were removed, 42 people were arrested for spreading hate material and 238 were rounded up for misusing loudspeakers in Peshawar.

Operations under the NAP are underway all over the country. However, the action in Peshawar is more stringent than any other district, resulting in a high number of suspects being arrested. The provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been the softest and nearest high-profile target for the attackers, mostly coming from the adjacent tribal areas.

A number of search operations were carried out in Saddar and surrounding areas, Hayatabad and the surburban Peshawar during the last couple of days after reports emerged about serious threats of terror attacks. Security in the provincial capital has been put on high alert and over 80 suspects, including Afghan nationals were rounded up in actions during the last three days.

“As many as 138 search and strike operations were carried out in Peshawar, including 51 in the rural division, 45 in cantonment division and 42 in city division. During these operations, 197 small machineguns, 910 shotguns, 106 rifles and 1,251 pistols were recovered,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Peshawar Dr Mian Saeed Ahmad told The News.

In addition, 218 cases were lodged and 238 people arrested for misuse of loudspeakers and 36 cases registered and 42 people held for spreading hate material under the NAP since January 1.

Twelve people were booked for carrying fake national identity cards, 33 for selling uniforms of security forces and 17 for selling arms illegally.During the period, the Peshawar Police registered 2,856 cases under the 14 Foreigners Act while 4,695 unregistered Afghans were arrested and deported to their home country.

The action under the Foreigners Act is taken against those who do not have any document to legalise their stay in Pakistan either as refugee or as legal visitor. There are estimates that around one million Afghans living in the country do not have any document to legalise their stay in Pakistan.

The police and the security forces have accelerated action all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the NAP that was launched after attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16 last year. The attack, considered to be the worst terror attack in the history of the country, had claimed around 150 lives, with more than 135 children.

Some political leaders and analysts want the operations under the NAP to be expedited all over Pakistan. After a suicide attack on chief of Qaumi Watan Party Aftab Ahmad Sherpao in Charsadda, he and his party leaders stressed the need for more search and strike action under the NAP in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and other towns.

“We all must work for implementation of the NAP and monitor the progress of state institutions on its implementation,” Marvi Sirmed, a columnist and civil society activist, told The News.

Peshawar has suffered the most due to violence and that is the reason more efforts are needed to secure the city. Senior police officials said their men have sacrificed the most and were ready to do more for the security of the country.

“Hundreds of our cops have offered the supreme sacrifice of their lives for restoration of peace. We have held 123 meetings with the families of the martyred cops to know about their problems after their loved ones sacrificed their lives for the country,” said the deputy chief of the Peshawar Police Dr Mian Saeed.

He added that kutcheries (open courts) were held at 20 places to know about the problems of the people and seek their cooperation about any suspicious activity in their area. Under the NAP, 106 hotels and inns were checked and 214 accused were held by the police. Security of foreigners and sensitive installations was upgraded to avoid any threat from the tribal areas.

“During snap checking, the police verified 29,100 vehicles and 131 were impounded as these were lifted, snatched or didn’t have record with the concerned department,” Dr Mian Saeed said. He added that the police, via the criminal record verification system, checked 7,639 people. He said 7,637 of them were cleared while two were rounded up. (The News)

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