Peshawar: Over 70 suspects held in search operation near Army Public School
PESHAWAR: A number of unregistered Afghans were among over 70 suspects arrested during a search operation in the vicinity of the Army Public School on Sunday.
Heavy contingents of the Peshawar Police along with other security agencies carried out the operation in Abshar Colony, Bihari Colony, Tehkal and other areas of the Warsak Road, close to the military–run school that was attacked on December 16.
Sniffer dogs, experts of the bomb disposal unit (BDU) and lady constables accompanied the policemen during the search operation.
“Action against the Afghans and tenants, who have not registered themselves with the local police, is under way. The action will be intensified in coming days,” Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ijaz Ahmad told The News.
The official did not mention the exact number but said many of the suspects held on Sunday were Afghan.
Action against unregistered Afghans was already going on and an average 15 to 20 of them were rounded up on alternate day. Over a 100 of Afghans have been deported during the last one week.
The provincial government had decided to regulate the stay of Afghans in the province in three phases for maintaining peace, said a source.
In the first phase, they will be restricted to camps and refugee villages; in the second phase, their data will be collected to find those without documents and in the third phase those having no documents will be repatriated permanently to their native country.
The CCPO added that they could arrest illegal Afghans only under 14-Foreigners Act and those they were later deported to their home country for not having valid documents for stay in Pakistan.
“Most of these Afghans, however, come back the next day to cause problems for us,” said Ijaz Ahmad.
The force has no other tool to handle the illegal Afghans except lodging a case against them under the 14–Foreigners Act.
Thousands of Afghans living scattered outside camps in rural, urban and suburban areas have neither any Proof of Registration (PoR) card for refugees, nor do they have any other document to legalise their stay in Pakistan or can be found in case of involvement in any crime or terrorism.
“Apart from terrorism, a large number of Afghans are involved in kidnapping for ransom, robberies, extortion and other crimes. The ratio of involvement of Afghans in kidnapping for ransom is over 50 percent,” said the Peshawar city police chief.
The CCPO also said the Afghans had links with the militants of Mohmand Agency, Khyber Agency and other areas.
Our correspondent in Lakki Marwat adds: The police with the help of intelligence and prison officials conducted a joint search operation in the district jail on Sunday.
“Heavy contingent of police force, led by SP Investigation Muhammad Saddique Khan reached Mohallah Bamozai in Lakki City in the morning and surrounded the area where the district jail is situated,” said a police official.
He said that District Police Officer Ismail Kharak had ordered conducting the operation in the wake of execution of convicted terrorists in different jails across the country.
The official said that police had intensified security measures in the district jail. “During the hours-long operation the law enforcers thoroughly checked the goods of inmates and parts of the jail building,” said the official.
“The aim of the action was to ensure that the prisoners do not possess any kind of weapons or explosive with them,” he maintained, saying that no weapons or contraband were recovered during the operation.
Our correspondent in Mansehra adds: The law–enforcement agencies have arrested five Afghan nationals during the search operation outside the district jail on Sunday, said an official.
“The law–enforcement agencies conducted house-to-house search around the district jail and taken into custody five Afghan nationals,” said Zulfiqar Khan Jadoon, deputy superintend of police.
The law enforcement agencies personnel also warned of the settlers not to provide shelter or accommodation to any outsiders without prior verification of their whereabouts through police.
Elsewhere in Ichrian Afghan refugees camps, the law enforcement agencies taken into custody two suspects who according to sources, were staying their without legal documentations.
Jadoon said that search operations would be continued until desired results were achieved.
He said now action would also be taken against owners and tenets who had indulged in house renting deals without prior information to police station concerned. “Nobody is above the law and we would carry out search operation without any discrimination and people should cooperate with us in this regard,” said Jadoon.