Agencies expose K-P’s ‘toothless’ reality on countering terrorism

ISLAMABAD: A highly critical report, prepared by security agencies, painted a bleak picture of the anti-terrorism mechanism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, saying on Monday that the province’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) lacked capacity to fight terrorism. Express tribute has narrated the script of this eye opening report in its publication.

Quoting its source the media has published that the report, presented to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the national security review meeting, warned that because of an acute shortage of staff and resources, the CTD would not be able to prevent or stop a terrorist attack in the province.

The K-P CTD did not have the capacity to fight terrorism as it itself had become the epicenter of problems, owing to lack of resources and manpower at a time when insurgency and terrorism were once again rearing their ugly heads in the province, the report revealed.

The report highlighted the issues of capacity building and lack of training and resources of the provincial counter-terrorism unit. It said the matter had been brought to the notice of the province’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government multiple times in the past but to no avail.”

The report was presented to the prime minister at a time when the provincial assembly faced dissolution on the instructions of PTI Chairman Imran Khan on coming Friday, while the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was trying to regain its foothold there.

“Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa environment remained highly volatile when compared with other provinces; in the last one year, Punjab faced 5 terrorist incidents (3 Shaheed and 30 injured) compared with 704 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (305 Shaheed and 689 injured); with 93 terrorists killed mostly by security forces,” the report said.

“Despite facing major wrath of terrorism, focus of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on counter terrorism capacity building is absent,” the report said, adding that the lack of focus of the K-P government had hampered the capacity of the province’s counter-terror apparatus.

In this regard, the main issues highlighted in the report revolved around budgetary allocations for procurements, upgradation of equipment, training of human resource, allocations for operations as well as infrastructure.

The report surfaced on a day, when PTI chairman Imran Khan, whose party is in power in K-P for the past two consecutive terms, expressed concern on the rising incidents of terrorism in the country, while interacting with the representatives of international media.

Presenting a comparison between the CTDs of Punjab and K-P, the report said that Punjab had two deputy inspectors general (DIGs) and 15 to 18 officers of the rank of senior superintendent of police (SSPs), whereas there was just one SSP from the Police Services of Pakistan (PSP) posted in the K-P CTD.

Similarly, the report continued, the CTD Punjab had an amount of Rs276 million in its ‘Reward Fund’, while the K-P CTD had Rs25 million, while Punjab’s martyrs package was 150% more than that of K-P. The report also pointed out that there was a 70% difference between the salaries of staff in Punjab CTD and K-P CTD.

The security agencies have informed Prime Minister Shehbaz that there were no incentives for the CTD personnel in K-P; at least 70% difference between pays of the CTD Punjab personnel and the CTD K-P and absolutely zero accommodation facilities for CTD K-P personnel.

Even the DIG has no house and has been requesting the provincial government for some accommodation inside the Cantt area but to no avail. On the other side, it maintained, all secretaries, doing 9 to 5 office jobs, had allocated houses inside the Cantt area.

Among other issues, the prime minister was informed that the pay difference of the CTD personnel was not just from the Punjab CTD but even K-P Secretariat employees were getting almost 70% more pay on average than any CTD staffer.

On infrastructure, the report said, there was no provincial headquarters even for K-P CTD and it was currently housed in a borrowed portion of a building – the basement of which housed the K-P Police Ammunition Depot. “The K-P CTD is literally sitting on a pile of explosives,” it added.

It highlighted that there was no training school for the K-P CTD. For that it usually depended on the Punjab CTD. It pointed out a lack of basic infrastructure and no dedicated manpower, saying that the CTD manpower was nominated from existing Levies or Khasadar forces and they were not imparted any training.

The report maintained that no dedicated officers were posted in the newly-merged districts – former federally-administered Tribal Areas (Fata) – adding that all district offices were lodged in under construction buildings since last two years, while work on accommodations in Khyber and Mohmand had not even started.

In the transport section, the report said, K-P CTD had only 448 vehicles, including 361 motorcycles, compared to 1,466 in Punjab. In Punjab, the CTD had a state-of-the-art cyber facility but the K-P CTD had none.

Furthermore, the report pointed out that training in Punjab was supervised by retired Special Services Group (SSG) officers, whereas K-P lacked such training paraphernalia. “No such plans are in the offing,” the report said. “Zero training grant in last 2 years.”

Highlighting some serious technical equipment, the report mentioned that GSM locators, man-pack locators for urban areas, 24 jammers, including up-gradation were needed. Also, it noted serious deficiency in the communications system, adding there was “zero night-fighting” capability. (courtesy; the express tribune)