LAHORE - Special operations to purge the “no-go areas” at Punjab border of the banned outfits’ activists and criminal gangs are on the cards, security agencies’ sources told The Nation yesterday.

Rangers will be engaged for a limited role to assist the law-enforcing agencies at the provincial boundaries with Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Frontier Corps and Rangers will coordinate the efforts against anti-state elements at the borderlines of the three provinces with the Punjab, they added.

The members of outlawed TTP, Al-Qaeda and criminal gangs have created no-go areas at the border of Punjab with the three provinces, virtually converting the same into their safe havens. Narcotics dealers are one of the prominent crime syndicates operating in bordering areas with the nexus of the banned outfits.

“Frontier Corps has already launched intelligence-based “chase operations” to hunt the banned outfits’ activists and criminal gangs in some areas of Balochistan, connecting the volatile province with the Punjab. The areas in which the operations took place include Zamurdan, Sori, Rekho, Geyandari and Jathro,” said the security agencies’ sources.

The business of kidnapping for ransom is on the rise and the banned organizations operating from no-go areas have major part in this high crime while they mostly operate at Punjab border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

In two intelligence-based chase operations in the first week of this month, Frontier Corps killed four banned outfits’ members at the Punjab border, who had kidnapped employees of the Balochistan government. The paramilitary freed the kidnapped employees who the fleeing abductors had left behind while crossing into the Punjab.

The activities of TTP and Al-Qaeda splinters are growing at the Punjab border with Balochistan in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur and Rojhan areas. They are carrying out kidnappings for ransom and money extortion. Similarly, the Punjab border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Mianwali is becoming a hotbed of such elements.

In some cases, the kidnappers belonging to the banned outfits smuggled their prey to Afghanistan via Punjab-Balochistan and Mianwali-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa border, said the security agencies’ sources.

The proscribed groups’ activists slip into the Punjab and use no-go areas at the border of the province with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to disappear from the scene for some time.

They remain inactive in any region of the absconding province for 40 to 60 days, but carry out criminal actions in the territory of their stay. This information was acquired from such members of the banned outfits after interrogations. At least eight members of the banned outfits were killed by the security forces while entering Balochistan in the recent past, said the security agencies’ sources.

More than 12 activists of the TTP had been killed in the South Punjab areas, most of them in Dera Ghazi Khan, who slipped into the province from Balochistan, in intelligence-based and intelligence-led operations with the assistance of Counter-Terrorism Department Punjab, they added.

Insiders in Border Military Police manning the Punjab border with Balochistan acknowledged the existence of no-go areas. They said aggressive cleanup operation was needed in this belt, demanding pooling the resources and efforts of the Punjab law enforcers as well as Rangers.