The terror-torn province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa outsmarted the previous years in terms of terrorist attacks, as the global extremist network ISIS was thwarted in its attempts to form strongholds in key areas such as Swat, Dir, Buner, and Malakand.
The relative peace has come on the heels of KP police’s relentless efforts and successful security operations to exterminate terrorists hailing from Afghanistan.
One of the operations was conducted at the lofty height of 9,000 feet in Buner, which was earlier cleared from the grasp of terrorists, but last year saw an across-the-border infiltration.
Boldened by the slight security lapse, the terrorists had started collecting donations, target-killings, and attacks on security personnel in the area. Planning further militant activities, these extremists from Elm hill in Buner organised their network in Swabi, Mardan, Swat, Shangla, Lower Dir, and Upper Dir.
Striking at the heart of the extremist activities, police and security forces killed three terrorists and arrested 13, while clearing the 40-square kilometre area and removing seven cave-like tunnels.
DIG Malakand Ijaz Khan told The Express Tribune that breaking the across-the-border terror network was a phenomenal success for the security forces in 2020.
KP police official documents reveal a total of 361 terrorism-related cases were filed during the year, in which 149 terrorist attacks, 22 cases of targeted killings, 34 cases of extortion, and 84 cases of terror financing were registered, while 19 persons were booked under the fourth Schedule.
During various security operations, five suicide jackets, 34kg of ammunition, 87 hand grenades and other weapons and ammunition were recovered. In all, KP police arrested 370 criminals involved in extremist activities, while 95 terrorists were also killed in various military and police operations.
The documents revealed that 19 police personnel were martyred, while 48 civilians also lost their lives in militant operations and bomb blasts.
After the KP-FATA merger, more than 29,000 Khasadar and Levy personnel were integrated into the police force. In a historic first, areas including Khyber district, Mohmand, Bajaur, North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Kurram are under the proper control of KP police now.
IGP KP Dr Sanaullah Abbasi has termed 2020 the year of youth recruitments into the police force.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world and the case was no different even for the frontline police officers. When the lockdown was first imposed in March, the police had a key role in enforcing it.
Months on, a total of 495 police officers and officials were infected with the virus in the tribal districts of the province, while 17 police officers succumbed to the disease.
KP police had also registered cases against a total of 22,608 people across the province and tribal districts for violating the NDMA Act, in which 36,074 people were arrested for non-compliance with the virus SOPs.
On the downside, the number of robberies and mugging incidents increased in the province during the lockdown.
On the social media front, the KP police’s reputation took a hit as several incidents of inhumane treatment went viral.
In June this year, a video of police stripping a youth from the Tehkal area surfaced, invoking the citizens’ wrath. The SSP operations Peshawar was suspended, while two SHOs were arrested and dismissed from the service.
Police were also criticised for delayed action over the rape and killing of a seven-year-old girl in Badaber, a suburb of Peshawar.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2021.