ISLAMABAD - The government is considering taking the services of Pakistan Army for security of big cities at a time when the military is pounding Taliban hideouts in the tribal areas, after efforts for securing peace through talks seems to have failed.
Nacta officials on Friday suggested the interior ministry to take services of army for fool-proof security of big cities including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan promised to take PM’s approval for it, sources said.
During a meeting at Nisar’s office "Nacta director general floated the idea of engaging regular troops in making fool-proof security arrangements in big cities across the country. The interior minister appreciated the idea and said he will get approval of it from the prime minister as soon as possible," an official who attended the meeting told The Nation.
The meeting was specially called to review security situation in the county and it was attended by higher officials of Nacta, FIA (Federal Investigation Agency), Islamabad district management and Inspector General of Islamabad Capital Territory Police.
The media was not informed about the salient points of the meeting. However, sources said the minister quoted intelligence reports that militants were planning to carry out strikes in big cities and directed the heads of law enforcement agencies to make sure each and every official of their forces remain vigilant.
"The minister especially directed the head of Nacta (National Counter Terrorism Authority) to make the force high alert as there looms threat of terrorism in big cities after govt-TTP talks seemingly collapsed," a source told the Nation. He said Nacta officials suggested taking help from the army to support other law enforcement agencies as part of elaborate security measures.
"As such there is no war-like situation in the country. However, we need to remain vigilant to cope with any act of terrorism," a source quoted the federal minister as saying during the meeting.
Intelligence agencies have recently informed the interior ministry that the TTP and foreign militants may carry out attacks across big cities following airstrikes on hideouts of suspected militants and targeted ground operations in tribal areas near the Pak-Afghan border. A couple of days back (on Wednesday) military jets killed scores of suspect militants in the tribal areas. The militants struck back by wounding a number of officials of rangers in the port city of Karachi.
Security experts and analysts believe the incident clearly shows that government-TTP talks have collapsed finally. In the light of emerging situation, the interior minister called meeting of higher officials and heads of different law enforcement agencies to review security condition across the country.
Officials said that according to new security plan, regular army troops in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies would be tasked with the security of big cities It also suggests establishment of Rapid Response Force comprising personnel of police and rangers for security of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.