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Pakistani Punjab worried about infiltration by Taliban

Press Trust of India
Mar 02, 2014 at 10:20pm IST

Reports of the Taliban penetrating Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province of 90 million people, have alarmed the government led by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The provincial government has been warned by intelligence agencies that militants are moving towards Punjab in the wake of air strikes in the restive tribal areas.

"There is a dire need to take immediate measures to stop possible infiltration to avoid terrorism in Punjab," said a report from an intelligence agency.

Pakistani Punjab worried about infiltration by Taliban

Pakistani Punjab worried about infiltration by Taliban

Taking cognisance of these developments, the Punjab government has allocated Rs 100 million to beef up security.

"We are working on an extensive border security improvement programme in four districts bordering Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to restrict the movement of criminals, terrorists and sectarian killers," a senior police official told PTI.

The programme is also aimed at intercepting stolen vehicles and explosives that could be used for terror attacks, the official said.

The military carried out air strikes in the tribal belt after suspending a dialogue with the Taliban over the execution of 23 troops by a militant faction. The Taliban on Sunday announced a month-long truce to facilitate the resumption of the controversial peace process.

According to intelligence reports, check posts on the boundary between Punjab and the restive northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and highway patrol posts are not effective for stopping infiltration by Taliban fighters.

The Punjab government also plans to send foreign students studying in seminaries packing if they do not possess valid travel documents. Most of these students are Afghans.

Earlier, there were calls from various quarters, especially the opposition Pakistan People's Party, to launch an operation in southern Punjab to flush out militants belonging to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

But the provincial government has claimed no militants are present in the region.

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