The threat perception vis-a-vis terrorist strikes by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP), Islamic State or Daesh, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other hardliner terrorist outfits in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has increased manifold.
In PoK, Chinese engineers and other staff working on various power projects is also the prime target of TTP, ISKP and other terrorist outfits. The security arrangements of Chinese nationals are being beefed up for last many days.
All entry points of PoK have been fortified with additional contingents of police and other security agencies and all kinds of vehicles and people entering PoK are being subjected to strict scrutiny manually and through technical means.
PoK police are concentrating on ensuring the safety of Chinese engineers and workers deployed on the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project site and their residential colonies including Chhatar Kalas Colony near Muzaffarabad.
Also, an additional police force has been deployed at 9 bridges connecting Muzaffarabad district with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa areas including Abbottabad and Mansehra. The main entry point of Kohala-Bararkot is under strict surveillance with the unprecedented deployment of police.
The UN security department has also warned about the possibility of terrorist attacks on foreign diplomats and the Diplomatic Enclave as well. There were reports that even the Pakistan army has advised its officers and soldiers not to roam around in uniform.
In view of the growing possibility of terrorist attacks, combing and search operations are underway in various cities and towns of PoK including Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, Bhimber, Sudhanoti, Baloch and Barnala.
These operations apparently are directed against Afghan nationals, non-PoK people from KPK, erstwhile FATA and Punjab living in PoK without NADRA I cards and genuine documents.
In the last couple of days, around 100-120 people were involved in activities which PoK authorities metaphorically described as suspicious activities instead of acknowledging them as terrorist activities were arrested.
However, these suspicious persons are being arrested under National Action Plan (NAP).
In Muzaffarabad, combing operations were carried out in Bala Pir, Bela Noor Shah, Lorry Adda, Tahli Mandi, Sama Bandi, Gojra By-pass and Sabzi Fruit Mandi and 21 persons including 06 Afghans and 15 non-PoK people were arrested under the NAP.
Over 20 people, including 03 Afghans and 17 non-PoK people were arrested during a similar operation in Kotli. These suspicious people were living without any proper documentation and had rented accommodation on hefty rent. Some landlords have also been arrested for renting out accommodations without any scrutiny and set norms.
A crackdown against narcotics and arms smugglers was carried out in Rawalakot and several persons were arrested and drugs and weapons were recovered from them.
Ongoing combing operations on the one hand prove that besides Muzaffarabad, PoK cities and towns along the LoC have been transformed into safe havens for terrorists from Afghanistan, KPK and Punjab.
On the other hand, these operations also indicate fear of the Pak security establishment that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorists operating from the platforms of pseudo organizations including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Kashmir Freedom Movement, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI)/JeI subsidiaries and Pasban-e-Hurriyat vitiate the situation along LoC by infiltrating into J-K and carrying out terrorist attacks there.
Pakistan is further going through one of its worst economic crises in decades. The new wave of terrorism has exacerbated the economic woes confronting the country.
Pakistan’s economic woes are intertwined with the fateful decision to nurture the jihadist movement.