PESHAWAR: With the Zarb-i-Azb operation underway in North Waziristan Agency, the Peshawar Police launched a massive search operation on Sunday, arresting more than 118 illegal residents, including a Sri Lankan national, from the posh Hayatabad Township bordering Khyber Agency.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Najeeb-ur-Rehman said more than 700 police officials, including lady police personnel, took part in the operation. Sniffer dogs were also used in Phase 6 and 7 of Hayatabad Township area raids.
He added that the operation in North Waziristan tribal region was also a reason that the suspects may intrude in posh Township areas.
The operation started at about 5am and was launched after the paramilitary forces received a tip-off about the presence of suspects in the area.
Station House Officer (SHO) of the Tatara police station Riaz Khan said that the operation was divided in eight phases.
He added that most of the suspects in Hayatabad were living illegally or could not provide identification documents. An investigation to determine their identity is underway.
He further added that the operation was also conducted to sensitise people about the present Tenant Law and identify illegal residents living in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar.
The government has recently introduced a new Tenant Law according to which every person living on rent in KP should register themselves with the local police.
They are required to provide complete details of their family members and No Objection Certificate (NoC) to the concerned police station.
Previously, a number of suspects living in parts of Peshawar including Hayatabad had been arrested, which prompted the KP government to enact a law in order to trace the illegal residents in the area.
Last year, Peshawar police decided to conduct a thorough search operation in all the streets of Hayatabad and adjoining cantonment areas and check the houses for arrest of outlaws keeping in view the increasing crime ratio in the posh locality.
An official source said that major problems had been created by illegal Afghan nationals who were residing in Hayatabad and frequently visiting Afghanistan.
Cantonment Circle Superintendent of Police Kamran Faisal told Dawn that the decision to launch a clean-up operation against criminals had been taken to ensure protection to lives and properties of the people and get a clue to the kidnapped people. He said that gangs involved in the targeted killings and extortion would be one of their main targets.
Police hunt ‘militants in garb of IDPs’
Most of the suspects arrested from Hayatabad belong to the tribal areas of Khyber and Bajaur with some of the IDPs from North Waziristan tribal region.
The family members of those arrested from the North Waziristan tribal region demanded that the government must give them some time to create their No Objection Certificate (NOC) and other documents as they had recently fled the war zone area and are not yet settled.
The police said they have information that some militants have intruded the city area in the garb of IDPs, prompting a search operation.
Hafeez ur Rehman from Miranshah said that his relatives who had just arrived last night were also arrested although they were preparing documents for them but the process was time consuming.
He said that they are law abiding citizens and have no connection with the militants so they must be released.
He said that most of the elders have returned to Bannu in the process to shift the remaining family members.
Those arrested are all youth who even cannot understand Urdu or the native Pashto language.
Akhtar Amin from Dande Darpakhel said that it is highly unjustified that they were being treated like terrorists all over Pakistan.
He said that all Waziristanis can’t be terrorists so the police must do a proper research and verification before arresting someone.
He remarked that he arrived two days ago and in the process of preparing documents as his residence was raided and a relative was also arrested.
Javed. Wazir of Khushali Torikhel said that they don’t want any government support or ration or anything else but the government should leave them in peace if they want to live in their own rented houses.
He said that they had fled empty handed in a hurry and are penniless. They also said that no one had the time to carry their passports and CNICs so government must adopt another mechanism for their identification.
The police said, they are in the process of verification and those who proved their innocence would be released.