Govt reviews recent attacks in Swat, decides to assist KP to remove terrorism

The Prime Minister’s Steering Committee on Peace on Wednesday reviewed the recent spate of attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in Swat, and decided to assist the provincial government in curbing terrorist activities in the region.

The development comes a day after a school van was targetted in Swat’s Charbagh area, which left the van driver dead and two students injured. The attack was the latest in a series of incidents of violence that have gripped the valley in recent days, prompting citizens to take to the streets against the rising tide of insurgency.

According to Rescue 1122 officials, the van was taking students to a school in Gulibagh area of the Charbagh tehsil when unidentified assailants, riding on a motorcycle, had opened fire. The driver was killed on the spot, while two students were moved to the hospital after sustaining injuries.

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Locals have blamed the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan for the attack, but the group has denied responsibility. Any other organisation has also not claimed responsibility so far.

The steering committee’s meeting today was chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. According to a statement, the participants — which included MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi, MNA Mohsin Dawar, Advisor to Prime Minister Amir Makam, former KP governor Shaukatullah Khan and former Senator Muhammad Saleh Shah — reviewed the situation in Swat in detail.

“The committee expressed concern over the increasing incidents of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and expressed solidarity with the people of Swat against terrorism.”

The statement said that all the participants had unanimously decided to provide full support for the eradication of terrorism in the province.

They also observed that instead of politics, the KP government should ensure public order in the province and cooperate with the federation. “Extremism and terrorism are on the rise in KP, but the provincial government is busy planning sit-ins against the federation,” it added.

Later, in a tweet, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the steering committee had unanimously decided to “abet the provincial government in curbing terrorist activities”.

“The KP government must ensure peace in the province rather than playing petty politics in the name of a long march against the federal government,” he said, referring to PTI chairman Imran Khan’s much-anticipated ‘Azadi March’ on Islamabad.

The minister added that it was “unfortunate” that members of the committee belonging to the PTI — Ali Muhammad Khan and Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif — had refused to attend the meeting.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court earlier today, Imran said that the ongoing “alarming” situation in Swat was a matter for the federal government to see, and the PTI-led KP government had been alerting the centre for a long time.

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