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Pakistan announces one crore award to unearth Peshawar bombing plot

A file image of Peshawar mosque bombing site in north-western Pakistan, earlier this year (Photo: IANS)

Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has announced an award of Rs one crore Pakistan rupees (approximately US $36,000) for providing information about the attackers involved in a suicide attack inside a mosque in the Peshawar police headquarters. The attack that was carried out last week killed 101 people, most policemen, and injured scores.

Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports that a statement issued by the CTD said that anyone giving information about the suicide bomber and the facilitators will be rewarded Rs 10 million cash (approximately US $36,000), and added, “privacy of the informer will be ensured and the name of [the person] giving leads on the suicide bomber or his facilitators will be kept secret”.

The suicide bombing was a big embarrassment for the Pakistani security establishment as it happened in the Peshawar police lines—a maximum security area guarded by the frontier reserve police, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor security unit, the CTD, the elite force and several other special security units.

Besides being home to all these security units, the police lines are protected by a high compound wall with just one entry-exit gate manned round the clock by armed force personnel.

Adding to the embarrassment of the Pakistani establishment, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police personnel alleged in a protest march that the bombing was the handiwork of the notorious spy agency ISI, creating fissures among Pakistan’s security agencies. Pakistani military and police personnel have come under sustained attacks by the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP), also known as Pakistan Taliban almost soon after the Taliban toppled the Ashraf Ghani government and took over Kabul in august 2021.

Adding to the confusion in a poor security environment, that plagues Pakistan’s border districts with Afghanistan, the Pakistan Taliban, claimed that the suicide bombing in the Peshawar mosque was its work. However, it later retracted that statement, adding to confusion.

The bombing had echoes across the border with Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi seizing the opportunity to chide Pakistan for not being able to manage its security affairs. Asking Pakistan to investigate the Peshawar attack instead of blaming Afghanistan for spreading terror, Muttaqi said:  “Don’t blame others for your own failures”.

That a cash-strapped Pakistan has announced a big award for information on the Peshawar mosque suicide bombing suspects after more than a week shows that its intelligence and security agencies have not made a credible headway into one of the deadliest attacks to hit Peshawar.

Also read: How the TTP bleeds Pakistan with a thousand cuts