PESHAWAR: The Apex Committee for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), which met here on Saturday, discussed the growing incidents of extortion in the provincial capital and decided to send a delegation to Kabul for seeking cooperation in curbing the use of Afghan mobile phone Sims in such cases.
Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, ISI Director General Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Peshawar corps commander and other senior military and civilian officials attended the meeting held at the Corps Headquarters, Peshawar.
In a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations said the meeting reviewed progress of the ongoing military operation in Shawal in North Waziristan, intelligence-based operations (IBOs) across the province, resettlement of internally-displaced people (IDPs) and border management at Torkham.
The statement said that participants expressed satisfaction over the last phase of Shawal operation and IBOs, besides pledging to ensure efficient border management at all crossing points, especially at Torkham.
KP apex body takes note of calls made to Pakistanis through Afghan Sims
The issue of extortion calls being made to people of Peshawar from the Pak-Afghan border region came under discussion and it was decided that all illegal communication towers inside Pakistani territory would be shut down.
A high-level delegation would be sent to Kabul to seek cooperation on the issue from the authorities there, the statement said.
Gen Sharif paid tribute to the resilience of people of Fata and KP who had endured the atrocities of terrorists and managed to marginalise them in society.
The army chief reiterated his resolve to rebuild Fata and revive its socio-economic infrastructure.
He lauded the harmony being shown by all stakeholders and organisations in this regard.
The governor and chief minister of the province praised the role being played by army and reiterated their resolve to rid KP of terrorism and extremism and pave the way for development.
A security official told Dawn that the extortion issue dominated agenda of the meeting as about Rs10 million was being collected by extortionists from Peshawar per month.
The Afghan government, he said, had refused to provide call records because extortionists were using Afghan Sims, though the PTA and the interior ministry had tried to block such calls.
It had also been noticed that multiple calls were being made from a single Sim, he said, adding that Jamaatul Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, was behind most of the calls.
Such calls were also being received in Punjab.
Officials believe that extortionists were operating from border areas as some victims in Peshawar said they made payments to people based there.
The official said that most of the extortion ‘business’ was being carried out by sleeper cells in Peshawar and Chief Minister Khattak had taken up the issue with the Afghan ambassador as well.
According to police, more than 300 cases of extortion had been registered over the past several years.
Courtesy : Dawn News