Pakistan has warned of response days after a cross-border attack from Afghanistan martyred four soldiers in an operation to repulse militants from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral district.
“It does not matter who attacks us. For us, everyone is a terrorist who attacks us,” interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti told a press conference centred on the crackdown against smugglers and hoarders in Islamabad on Sunday.
“Whoever attacked us, we will respond and our response will be seen, Insha’Allah.”
He was responding to a query pertaining to media reports, alleging that the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban had the support of Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province and that Afghan Taliban members were involved in the September 6 attack that was claimed by the TTP.
“It is premature to say whether Afghans were part of it or just there were TTP members,” Bugti replied to the query and reminded that the incumbent government of Afghanistan has signed the Doha agreement under which they have vowed to not allow their soil to be used against any country.
The cross-border attack occurred on the day when Pakistan was celebrating its Defence and Martyrs Day. The military’s media wing statement issued on the day said that at least 12 terrorists were killed in the operation.
“Terrorists’ movement and concentration in Gawardesh, Pitigal, Barg-e-Matel and Batash areas of Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan had already been picked up and were timely shared with the Interim Afghan government,” said the Inter-Services Public Relations statement. The media wing expressed hope that the interim Afghan Government would deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for perpetrating acts of terrorism against Pakistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani confirmed on Saturday that Pakistan handed over a demarche to a top Afghan diplomat over the ambush, confirming that the attack was done from the other side of the border.
Prize money for informants against smuggling, hoarding
At the press conference, Bugti said that prize money would be given to citizens who provided information on smuggling, hoarding and illegal immigrants.
“We are announcing prize money for those people … who become our informants and tell us where smuggling and hoarding, [including] of dollars, is happening,” he said. “We are also setting prize money for [information] on illegal immigrants and the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) is leading that [initiative].”
Bugti added that a toll-free number would be set up at the Federal Investigation Agency and interior ministry in this regard.
He claimed that the government had achieved success in curbing the smuggling of various items, including the US dollar. He said at least 59 people involved in the illegal business of hawala hundi, have also been arrested.
But he said because of this, the culprits had resorted to hoarding and artificially setting prices of items such as wheat and sugar. A crackdown was underway on them as well, he added.
Bugti said a “zero-tolerance” policy would be adopted against all hoarders and smugglers, adding that the culprits would be sent to jail, prosecuted, sent to courts and sentenced.