Armed groups begin patrolling Peshawar streets

Pakistan on 25 September 2013
Location : Peshawar, Pakistan | Source : The News. Image Source: Defense Images

After increasing influence in the limits of Badaber and Matani police stations, armed groups have started patrolling the streets in Sarband and Pishtakhara areas to set the alarm bells ringing in the provincial capital.
“A large number of armed people, suspected to be militants, have recently started patrolling the streets in the limits of Sarband and Pishtakhara police stations. Their movement has panicked the residents of the villages located close to the boundary with Khyber Agency,” a source told The News.
The source said the groups operating in the areas are also targeting Hayatabad and University Road where not only the incidents of kidnapping have increased but a few houses were also bombed and hit with rockets in the last few days. The area is without a supervisory officer as its deputy superintendent of police (DPS) was transferred due to political pressure by a local politician for refusing his ‘illegal orders’.
The militants have already increased their influence in the limits of the Matani and Badaber police stations, causing a serious threat to the towns on both sides of the Kohat-Peshawar Road. The towns in the two police stations have witnessed hundreds of attacks by the militants from the nearby Khyber Agency and Darra Adamkhel during the last several years.
There are reports that the activities of the armed groups have also increased in the urban areas, including Gulbahar, Faqirabad,Yakatoot, Bhanamari and Mathra. Kidnappings, calls for ransom, robberies and other crimes are on the rise in the limits of all these police stations as well as the rest of the city.
The city witnessed a large number of target killings in the past few months. However, the groups involved in these attacks were busted last month, bringing down the number of the targeted attacks.
Peshawar had witnessed a similar situation a few years ago when armed groups were active all over the provincial metropolis. They carried out attacks in the urban and cantonment areas of the city before making their escape back to the tribal areas.
The spokesman for the capital city police, Waqar Ahmad, rejected reports about the patrolling of the militants in the limits of Peshawar. “The Sarband as well as the Badaber and Matani areas are fully under the control of police,” said the spokesman.
About the crimes in the rest of the city, the police spokesman said a number of rings involved in calls for extortion as well kidnapping and robberies were busted recently.
However, a late night attack on a masjid in Achini village in the limits of Sarband police station speaks volumes of the increasing influence of the militants in the area. At least three persons were killed and 20 injured when the armed men attacked the Pirano Masjid in the village with hand grenade and automatic weapons late Thursday night.
The FIR of the incident was lodged on Friday in the Sarband Police Station. There were reports that a search operation was also carried out in the area, during which over a dozen suspects were held.
The area is located close to the boundary with Khyber Agency. There were reports that the police were hesitant to reach the spot and rescue the wounded. The wounded were shifted to the hospital by the villagers.

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