Militants active in Nowshera, says minister

Mian Iftikhar HussainPESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said terrorists maintain a significant presence in several parts of Nowshera district and warned that their protectors would not be spared any longer.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, the minister said terrorists had maintained presence in several pockets of Nowshera district, including Badrushee, Bahadur Baba, Akora Khattak and Nowshera.“Nowshera terrorists have links with Darra Admakhel and this channel goes up to North Waziristan Agency,” Mr Hussain said, adding that the fresh wave of terrorism in Peshawar and Nowshera had its origin in Nowshera’s pockets of militants.He said the Darra Adamkhel militants couldn’t access Peshawar from the main routes and therefore, they had selected Nowshera hills to access Peshawar.

Before a bomb blast at Nowshera on February 27, 2012, Peshawar saw two terrorist attacks on two consecutive days, leaving 15 people dead on February 23 and four policemen the next day.He said his government had lost tolerance and no one from among all those who were protecting terrorists in Nowshera district would be spared.“Hosting militants in hujras, religious seminaries, houses and hills for weeks and months is not lawful. The tolerance for such acts has been fading away. The time has come to put a strong hand on all those providing refuge to militants anywhere in Nowshera district,” he said. He further said the government strongly appealed to all to withdraw their support to terrorists.

“If they (militants’ supporters) did not desist, we would put a hand on them no matter how strong they might be,” said Mr Hussain.When asked if he was referring to Maulana Samiul Haq’s Madrassa Haqania in Akora Khattak, the minister said: “I have not taken any name, whoever he might be we are ready to give a respectable passage to the militants’ protectors, requesting them to withdraw their support from them.“I am not blaming anyone, terrorists have established a network from Waziristan to Darra Admakhel to Nowshera that we need to eliminate.”

He said it had become clear that terrorists had pockets in Nowshera to carry out activities in the district.On the occasion, Mr Iftikhar announced on behalf of his government a compensation package, including Rs300,000 for each of the four persons killed in Nowshera’s bombing and Rs100,000 each for the injured. He said the district administration had also
been directed to employ to vacant posts one person from the families of each dead.He said terror victims were workers of Awami National Party, including Mohammad Israr, Sabz Ali, Tariq and Hussain.

The minister said terrorists had said they carried out the attack to target ANP and by coming up with that reason, they wanted to divide the society into political and sectarian groups to achieve nefarious designs.“Before ANP’s Nowshera public meeting, terrorists had carried out attacks against Maulana Fazlur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan People’s Party, mosques, imambargahs, bus stands, schools and other places in fulfillment of their ‘grand strategy’ to break up the society into many segments.We appeal to all political parties and people belonging to different ideologies to lend their support to it for fighting terrorists out,” he said.

Mr Hussain said ANP firmly believed that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US were not left with much time and that they needed to act cohesively to take on terrorists.“They are losing time and are left with no option but to adopt a common strategy and agenda for negotiations with terrorists.Stakeholders to Pakistan-Afghanistan regional peace, including terrorist (Taliban) should announce their respective agenda and negotiators for future,” he said.He said if terrorists didn’t cooperate, then the governments of the three countries should jointly crush them. – Dawn