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CTD Sindh,Balochistan to launch a joint operation against terrorism

01 March, 2017

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KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Departments (CTD) of both Sindh and Balochistan police on Tuesday decided to launch a “joint operation” in parts of the country’s largest province where the intelligence wings of the law-enforcement agency had identified “hideouts” of suspects allegedly involved in recent terrorist attacks in Sindh, officials said.

High officials flew from Karachi to Quetta, where a meeting of the CTD from both provinces was scheduled. After hours of deliberations and presentations, the Sindh police authorities finally convinced their counterparts about the presence of the hideouts of some banned militant outfits in Balochistan which were used by terrorists for the recent attacks in Sindh.

“It was a formal meeting after our earlier correspondence and intelligence-sharing,” said chief of the Sindh police’s CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi while speaking to mediamen.

“We showed them not only the findings of a JIT (joint interrogation team) report about high-profile militants but also data and reports of our intelligence units that strengthened our case. The Balochistan authorities agreed to cooperate with us and move with Sindh police in pursuit of these hideouts,” he added.

The officer said the police had already been coordinating with other law-enforcement agencies in general but the recent meeting with the Balochistan authorities was different in that it finally decided to launch a crackdown on militants and their hideouts under a joint strategy.

“The areas which have been identified initially by our side include Mastung and Wadh — a town in Khuzdar district — and a few pockets along the Afghanistan border of Balochistan. The police from both sides would hopefully make a joint strategy against the militants and their hideouts here,” said Additional IG Abbasi.

The security establishment in Sindh has already proposed raising a dedicated force to keep an eye on its border with Balochistan after investigators found that the suspects involved in recent terrorist attacks in the province had come from the neighbouring province. This concern was raised multiple times at meetings which were held after the bomb attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan in February, sources said.

This issue came under the spotlight for the second time within a year, as the Sindh police had earlier, in September 2016, claimed to have found concrete evidence that the suspects involved in a foiled suicide bombing attempt in Shikarpur had come from the neighbouring province.

This time the Balochistan government agreed with Sindh’s concerns by giving the go-ahead for concrete action to purge the area of such hideouts.

“We have issued clear directives to our police to cooperate with their counterparts in other provinces,” Balochistan Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Sarfaraz Bugti said when approached on the issue over telephone. Although he claimed that he was not aware of the details of the Tuesday meeting, he said: “If there is solid information and confirmed reports about the presence of militants and hideouts, the Balochistan police will definitely move against them.”

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