Law-enforcing and intelligence agencies are hunting for tribesmen registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs) but suspected to have links with militants, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), The Express Tribune has learnt.
The tribesmen, picked up from different areas of Bannu, belong to North Waziristan Agency where Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been under way since mid-June. “Now these people are being interrogated by various government officials,” said an official, requesting not to be named.
Most of the detained men belong to Mirali area, while some of them are from Data Khel, an area considered a stronghold of militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who had signed an agreement with the government through tribal elders on September 5, 2006.
According to information collected so far, around 10 tribesmen belonging to Mirali have been picked up and shifted to undisclosed locations by personnel of secret and law-enforcing agencies from different parts of Bannu.
Some unconfirmed reports put the numbers at 30-plus. Six of them belong to Haiderkhel village, three to Mosaki, and one is from Hurmaz.
Others, whose arrest and identification are yet to be confirmed, belong to Khushhali Torikhel and other villages and hamlets.
Maulvi Alyaseen — who belongs to Hurmaz village, situated on outskirts of Mirali — was picked up from Bannu Township. Maulvi Sakhi Daraz, of Mosaki village, was detained from the same locality where, according to officials, more than half a million IDPs are sheltering since mid-June.
Manzoor — who belongs to Mosaki village — was arrested from Saray Naurang, the headquarters of Lakki Marwat district.
Although the interrogation and investigation are in progress, the official claimed, it has already been confirmed that almost all the detained tribesmen support or have links with militants and terrorist groups.
He said some of them have also confessed to their ties. “The fate of these people could be decided in the near future when authorities will declare completion of Operation Zarb-e-Azab and finalise a schedule regarding repatriation of IDPs,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.