With the country under attack, it is more pertinent than ever that all the provinces and law enforcement agencies work together to purge the country of terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Departments (CTD) of both Sindh and Balochistan Police on Tuesday, decided to launch a “joint operation” in parts of Balochistan where the intelligence wings of the law-enforcement agencies had identified hideouts of the suspects allegedly involved in the recent terrorist attacks in Sindh.

The Sindh Police authorities have expressed their eagerness in working together on a joint counter-terrorism strategy, but had difficulty in convincing their counterparts to agree. The presence of the hideouts of some banned militant outfits in Balochistan is very likely, considering the multiple attacks on Quetta in recent years, however, the Balochistan police department has denied their existence multiple times before.

The areas which have been identified initially include Mastung and Wadh — a town in Khuzdar district — and a few pockets along the Afghanistan border of Balochistan. The Sindh government, in a bid to revamp the counter terrorism force of the province, already decided in August last year, to establish special police stations at the divisional level and recruit around 780 personnel for anti-terrorist operations. The salaries of those officers have also been set high, while the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the US Embassy in Islamabad has pledged Rs60 million to construct five police stations in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana.

The issue of joint counter terrorism efforts has gained traction after the Sindh police had earlier, in September 2016, claimed to find concrete evidence that the suspects involved in a foiled suicide bombing attempt in Shikarpur had indeed come from Balochistan. The police forces of both neighbouring provinces have been under scrutiny due to politicisation, corruption and weak infrastructure. It is time that the forces reform their image and bring the vital change that both areas deserve.

Source: The Nation


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