ISLAMABAD: Pakistani civilian and military officials will meet in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday to discuss step to root out militancy, the state media reported, days after a suicide bomber killed more than a hundred people, mostly police, and injured over 220 others in the city.
Monday’s attack, one of the deadliest in Peshawar in a decade, came amid an uptick in militant attacks on police and security forces in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces.
Pakistan’s defense and interior ministers in speeches to parliament this week blamed the Pakistani Taliban, who maintain sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan, for orchestrating the bombing.
The Pakistani Taliban, or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban and have carried some of the deadliest attacks in the South Asian country since late 2000s.
Pakistani officials will meet at the KP governor’s residence and consider capacity building of the police department, among other measures, against the renewed militant threat in the province.
“Meeting of Apex Committee will be held in Peshawar today to consider steps to eradicate terrorism and upgrade the Counter-Terrorism Department and police in wake of the recent terrorist incident in the provincial capital, the state-run Radio Pakistan broadcaster reported on Friday.
“All stakeholders including Rangers and officers of the intelligence institutions will attend the committee’s meeting at the Governor House in Peshawar.”
Pakistan has seen a surge in militant attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended a cease-fire with government forces, which was brokered by the Afghan Taliban in May.
While Islamabad demanded the Afghan Taliban to take action against the TTP, Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign minister urged Pakistani authorities to look domestically for the reasons behind violence in their country instead of blaming Afghanistan.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch dismissed the Afghan Taliban’s criticism and said her government expected “cooperation” from Kabul.
“We take the loss of innocent lives very seriously and would expect our neighbors to do the same,” Baloch said at a weekly press briefing. “Pakistan expects sincere cooperation” from Afghanistan.
The provincial apex committees were established as part of the then government’s counter-terrorism measures after the massacre of nearly 150 people, mostly children, at a military-run school in Peshawar in December 2014.
As subsequent military operations pushed militants out of Pakistan, these committees gradually became dormant.