Militants melting into settled areas

PESHAWAR: The militants fleeing Malakand division and parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas have become more of a headache for the law enforcement agencies as they are disappearing in the settled districts of NWFP, sources say.

According to sources there are hundreds of suspected militants, involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping, killing, blowing up of schools’ buildings, who are wanted by Swat police but have managed to disappear.

These elements have entered settled areas in the shape of internally displaced persons. Instead of returning to their hometowns they have initially preferred to stay in Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi and Mardan but now they are not traceable even in these districts.

These suspected militants know that security forces have collected data of all the anti-state elements and frequently arresting them at checkpoints and during search operations.

The personnel of law enforcement agencies also know that over 300 suspected militants belonging to Malakand division have disappeared in parts of NWFP and they can resurface anytime.

Reliable sources say that personnel of various security agencies are collecting information about the absconders but they are facing difficulties as the militants change places frequently.

An official says that at least two dozens militants belonging to Manglwar, Charbagh, Matta, Kabal and adjacent localities have shifted to a school in Dabgari area of Peshawar, Kund Park in Nowshera and Nowshera city. They are wanted by police but they have not returned to swat and have shifted somewhere else, he adds.

The security forces, he says, have blown up houses of the wanted persons but the alleged criminals are yet to be arrested as they have registered themselves as IDPs, received the relief money and goods and then disappeared.

The lamentable aspect of this situation is that these elements are habitual criminals and cannot be rehabilitated even after their surrender. The recent killing of Aftab Ahmed of Shakar Dara at Shinkar village of Mardan is a live example of the presence of militants in the settled areas.

Aftab was an employee of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Swat. His only sin was that he was son of Muzafar Ali Khan, a local leader of ANP in Matta, Swat.

Two other members of his family, Mukhtiar Khan and Mohammad Iqbal Khan, have also been assassinated by the suspected militants. Their houses have also been blown up by militants.

Another example is the kidnapping and cold blooded murder of Jamaluddin Khan, a resident of Chingalali village near Khwazakhela in Swat. His sin was that he had given shelter to a Chinese Engineer Zhang Guo, who had fled from Taliban captivity last year.

The Chinese associated with Zong Company had been kidnapped by the militants along with his colleague from Khall area of Lower Dir and shifted to Swat. One of them had got a chance and fled and Jamaluddin had given him shelter. Taliban had already killed one of his relative but he had fled to Peshawar.

Police had found two unidentified bodies near a brick kiln in Atta Mohammad Garhi on suburbs of Peshawar on Sept 29 and one of them was later identified as Jamaluddin.

He had been kidnapped from Phase-6 of Hayatabad Township and his bullet riddled body was dumped at a deserted place.

It was also learnt that militants fled from Mohmand and Khyber regions had also shifted their families from their areas and began kidnapping people for ransom in Peshawar.

According to sources many hardliners have been arrested during raids and they proved very helpful in tracing the rest of militants in different areas of the country.

The official says that militants fled from the Mohmand Agency have hired houses at Mathra, Faqirabad, Qazi Kallay, Tela Band, Ormar and Badbher areas. Around one dozen people, he says, have been arrested on spotting of their relatives or accomplices.

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