Peshawar unrest: Afghans seen as main source of trouble
PESHAWAR, Jan 1: In light of the frequent acts of terrorism, especially suicide bombings, in Qissa Khwani Bazaar and adjoining streets, Peshawar policemen manning the old city areas consider Afghan nationals the main problem for them, saying these foreigners move from one place to another very easily but leave no trace.
They are firmly of the opinion that an operation should be carried out in the area from GT Road to City Circular Road without delay to register tenants and catch rogue elements.
During a visit by Dawn to these areas on Tuesday, police officials expressed ignorance about directives from their bosses about registration of tenants in rented buildings. They also said they had no record of the occupants of these structures.
Police have time and again claimed to launch a campaign for registration of all tenants in the city and force property dealers to avoid provision of rented buildings without proper permission from the local police.
Also, they had reportedly decided that only families would be allowed to get houses in the residential population. However, in the main city areas, police have no record of tenants. The people can easily get a building on rent with police knowing nothing about them.
“The only solution to overcome the increasing terrorist acts is to carry out a thorough and concentrated operation and register tenants,” police officials said, suggesting that Afghan nationals be stopped from entering the city and renting houses.The police stations located inside the city have no record about the people living in the rented houses, plazas and flats.
They said police had to beef up security only during Muharram to avert any eventuality, adding that police had to visit different hotels, plazas to check the suspected people on temporary basis.
According to the officials, 18 bomb blasts have taken place in the city areas including Qissa Khwani but till now it could not be ascertained as to who facilitated the suicide bombers and how accurately they stroke their targets.
They said besides the minister, several senior police officials, including former CCPO Malik Saad Khan, DSP Khan Raziq, SP Hilal Haider and DSP Gulfat Hussain, many political workers and shopkeepers were also killed in the blasts but police did not arrest the handlers.
Former SHO of Khan Raziq police station Gharibullah Khan told Dawn that on former Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour was very shocking for all but police had no prior information about his arrival at the ANP meeting where he was targeted.
“We had adopted security checks only for federal minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who belongs to the city, but in the meantime, his brother and senior provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour also reached the meeting and then left the venue earlier and the suicide bomber got a chance to attack him,” he said.
About checking of suspected elements, he said police used to check the lists of the people at hotels every night but reaching the actual man in a busy place like Qissa Khwani was almost impossible due to movement of a large number of people.
Another senior official, Bahadur Khan, who is investigating the Bashir Bilour bombing case, said police were trying to get clues about the facilitators of the bomber but the DNA report had yet to appear. He said police couldn’t say anything about the nationality of the bomber.
“Militants have reached every corner of the city to attack anyone,” he said. he added that police were thoroughly examining the case but it was consuming lots of time as the picking of people without authentic information would be wrong.
When contacted, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said police had the duty to check every place, locality and buildings and they did not need any permission from the government for it.
“Anyone can facilitate bombers either for money or fear of life,” he said, adding that such elements could easily disappear in the streets due to the rush of the people.
He said it was not necessary that bombers reached the city the day of their activity as they could easily find place in markets, plazas, and even houses and shops.
“We have ordered police to register all tenants and force property dealers to follow what the police direct them so that public life and property could be secured,” the minister said.