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Bannu attack: Talks with ‘TTP underway in Afghanistan’

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  • One policeman martyred while three are injured, say sources.
  • Internet services suspended in Bnanu. 
  • Roads leading to and from Bannu Cantonment blocked. 

BANNU: Following a terrorist attack on the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) compound in Bannu, talks between Pakistani officials and the leadership of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are underway in Afghanistan, confirmed Mohammad Ali Saif, spokesperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, on Monday.

According to a foreign news agency, Pakistani authorities opened talks to try to resolve a stand-off with the TTP who were holding several security personnel hostage after seizing control of a counter-terrorism facility in the country’s northwest a day earlier.

“We are in negotiations with the central leaders of the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan,” said Saif.

The spokesperson warned of strict action if the armed men do not surrender.

Internet services have been suspended in Bannu and the roads leading to and from the Bannu Cantonment have been blocked. 

Miranshah Road and Jumma Khan Road are closed for all sorts of movements. The sources have claimed that the terrorists are demanding a safe air route to Afghanistan.  

16-member jirga left for Afghanistan

In a bid to defuse tension at Pak-Afghan Chaman border, a 16-member jirga comprising eminent clerics, local elders and traders left for Afghanistan to negotiate with the TTP’s leadership on Monday.

Talking to journalists ahead of leaving the country, Mufti Muhammad Qasim said they are carrying a “message of peace and friendship” with them.

“We received positive response from the Afghan authorities,” he added. The cleric added that loss of the common man is not in anyone’s interest.

Following the contacts and negotiations, the ongoing tension would be defused, hoped Malik Abdul Khaliq Achakzai.

Four police personnel martyred

A day earlier, four police personnel were martyred and as many others wounded in an overnight terrorist attack on the Bargai Police Station of Lakki Marwat area. 

Terrorists launched an armed assault on the police station from two sides. A fierce exchange of fire took place between the police and the outlaws that left four policemen dead and as many injured.

The attackers escaped after the assault. Police have launched a search operation in the area for the saboteurs.

Constables Ibrahim, Imran, Khairur Rahman and Sabz Ali are among the deceased.

Law and order situtaion in KP

The law and order situation in KP has gone south over the last few weeks as an increase has been noticed in threats and attacks on security forces as well as high-profile political personalities.

According to a The News report, the police are on high alert across the province after the recent spike in attacks in areas including Peshawar, southern districts, and the Mardan region.

The publication, citing a source, said: “Apart from the police, senior politicians have complained of receiving threats. The houses of some of them have also come under grenade attack.”

Provincial spokesperson of the Awami National Party (ANP) Samar Bilour has also shared that their provincial president Aimal Wali Khan had received a call about a plan of attack on his life.

Samar said that their leadership’s protection is the state’s responsibility, adding that they will be left with no other option but to take the protection of their leaders into their own hands if the state does not act.

“Apart from Aimal Wali Khan, Sardar Hussain Babak and others have received threats as well while the house of MPA Faisal Zeb was attacked twice in the last few weeks,” Samar Haroon Bilour had said last week.

Apart from the attack on the house of ANP MPA Faisal Zeb in Shangla, a grenade was hurled at the house of party Senator Hidayatullah in Peshawar in recent months.

Terror incidents

The wave of terrorist attacks has risen across the province in the last few months, the report said. At least 118 terrorist incidents were reported in KP from mid-August till the last week of November, according to official numbers.

At least 26 policemen, 12 personnel of other law enforcement agencies and 17 civilians were killed in terror incidents across the KP. Moreover, 18 policemen, 10 civilians, and 37 law enforcement agencies personnel suffered injuries in these attacks.

A dozen districts, including Peshawar, Mardan, Bajaur, Mohmand, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Kohat, Bannu, and Nowshera came under attack in November.

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Zaidong, the ambassador, said China will fully back Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations.

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Reaffirming on Thursday that China will provide Pakistan with unwavering support in its fight against terrorism is Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong.

In an interview that was broadcast on television, the ambassador promised to cooperate with Pakistan and said that China will protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the two friendly nations.

Zaidong underscored that efforts to undermine the two nations’ bilateral relationship would be thwarted by China’s cooperation with Pakistan.

Also, he emphasized how crucial China-Pakistan relations have become strategically given the changing nature of the world.

In highlighting the transformative impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ambassador reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to seeing it through.

In addition to creating thousands of employment, he said, “the CPEC has facilitated significant advancements in power generation and transportation infrastructure with over $25 billion in direct investments and substantial infrastructure development.”

Zaidong stressed the value of sharing ideas and knowledge between Pakistan and China, acknowledging their shared security objectives.

Stressing that both countries have a common future, he envisioned their partnership having a greater social impact.

Concerning the terrorist attack on Chinese nationals [working on the Dasu dam], the ambassador expressed gratitude to the Pakistani people for their condolences and sympathy and commended the government for its prompt action.

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Mild rain in Lahore improves the weather

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Early on Friday, light rain in the province capital Lahore and its surrounding areas improved the weather.

But rain also led to power outages in several areas of Lahore, as multiple feeders of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) blew, leaving whole sections of the city without power.

Details show that rain was observed in a number of locations throughout the city, including Model Town, Gulberg, Garden Town, Mall Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Gulshan Ravi, Jail Road, and Sanda.

However, the Met Office has forecasted an additional day of rain for the city during the next 24.

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The government will begin coordinated action against lawbreakers in the Katcha region

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On Friday, Mohsin Naqvi, the interior minister, announced that the government would begin a coordinated operation in the Katcha region to eradicate the miscreants for good.

He stated that collaborative efforts in the Katcha region will make use of contemporary technologies, including drones.

According to Mohsin Naqvi, all security agencies, including the police, should make sure that SOPs are fully implemented in order to protect Chinese nationals living in Pakistan.

He declared that any carelessness in this respect will not be accepted at all while presiding over a meeting to review the National Action Plan’s implementation at NACTA headquarters in Islamabad.

According to Naqvi, failure to follow the SOPs for the safety of foreign nationals will result in severe disciplinary action.

“We have to outfit our departments with cutting-edge technology to eradicate terrorism,” stated the interior minister. He declared that the provinces will receive all the assistance from the federation in this area.

Anti-state forces will be permanently driven out of the Katcha region, according to Naqvi. The interior minister expressed satisfaction with the anti-smuggling operations and stated that all ministries need to make sure that smugglers face stern legal action.

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