pakistan
Friday Dec 09 2022
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TTP used peace talks as cover to expand footprint, says anti-terror agency

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants. — Reuters/File
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants. — Reuters/File  
  • TTP intensified activities during peace talks, Nacta tells senators.
  • Authority says traditional routes of militants tracked, cleared.
  • Senate body passes bill tightening punishment for child pornography.


ISLAMABAD: The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) expanded its footprint during peace talks as US withdrawal boosted its activities with its base still intact in Afghanistan, The News reported Friday.

The Senate panel was told that the banned outfit gained considerable ground and increased its footprint and magnitude of activities during the peace talks process. It added that the terrorism index has risen.

In a report submitted to the Senate committee, the authority said that strong public opposition to returning to Swat is a positive development. It said that the locals, especially the political leadership active against the militants, needed to be supported and protected through the institutional mechanism.

It was briefed that the traditional routes of the militants have also been tracked and cleared, and 18 extra police forces are being deployed. It also informed the panel about the Peace Jeep rallies patrolling the area, saying it had increased the flow of tourists.

Nacta also said that the militants have been dispersed as a result of the joint operation of SFS and law enforcement agencies (LEAs). 

Any morphing in the local population in adjoining areas needs to be monitored; furthermore, the presence of militants signifies resident facilitation in the area, which needs to be countered through the collective efforts of the security apparatus.

It was also discussed that owing to winters and a lack of support structures and logistics, militants are likely to move from mountainous regions. The committee advised that further discussion on specific areas in terms of security should be discussed during in-camera sessions.

The bill

Meanwhile, the Senate committee unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2022 —setting a no less than three and up to 14-years  sentence for child pornography as per the severity of the offence after adopting new recommendations as discussed in the meeting.

The bill passed by the National Assembly was laid in the Senate by Senator Rubina Khalid.

The objective of the bill is to take cognisance of the rise in cases of sexual exploitation and cybercrime against children in the light of constitutional and international commitments of the government.

The bill was passed unanimously, with punishment for child pornography not less than three years and up to 14 years as per the severity of the offence.

The meeting of the Senate Committee on Interior was held under the chairmanship of Senator Moshin Aziz and was attended by senators Rubina Khalid, Maula Bux Chandio, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Kamil Ali Agha, Seemee Ezdi and Dilawar Khan, while the secretary of the Ministry of Interior and other senior relevant officers were also in attendance. 

The matter of public importance raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed regarding the worsening law and order in Swat was also taken up.