Army warns of possible attack in Dir from militants during election

General Peshawar

Peshawar: Pakistan Army has warned the people and political parties in Upper Dir of possibility of attacks from militants led by the fugitive Swat Taliban Commander Maulana Fazlullah and asked them to cooperate with the security forces during campaign for the upcoming general elections.

Operational Commander of the Pakistan Army in Dir, Brigadier Zaheer Malik, told a Jirga that the militants who had sanctuaries in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan were returning to their bases as part of their preparation for crossborder attacks.

The Jirga that was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Upper Dir Muhammad Abid Wazir, Superintendent of Police Esanullah Khan, representatives of political parties and local elders was convened to take stock of the law and order situation ahead of the polls.

Malik said they had information that the militants had planned to target public gatherings during electioneering in Upper Dir and launch crossborder attacks on the pattern they had carried out in 2011 and 2012.

He said the security forces had secured the border and foiled attempts of attacks by militants but the threat of attacks would increase in the coming weeks as political activities would gain momentum.

He said the security of the district needed improvement to foil militants’ attempts to strike. He asked people that they should keep a vigilant eye on the movement of suspicious people in their areas and supplement security forces efforts for maintaining law and order situation that was already better than other districts.

The officer said the militants had planned to carry out terrorist attacks at political rallies to subvert the election process. He asked political parties to cooperate with the security forces by holding rallies only at the specified locations in the district.

He said the security forces would provide security to such rallies, yet activists of political parties should frisk the incoming people as they would be betterpositioned to identify their workers or local people.

The operational commander said political parties would need to secure permission of holding gatherings in the specified locations three days prior to the event. Malik and DC Abid Wazir categorically said that no party would be allowed to hold gatherings on roads, at mosques and summaries.

He said they would not give security clearance to political parties that would violate the rules set for the election campaign.