Under siege Peshawar close to falling to militants

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Peshawar, June 25 : The NWFP's Home Department is on the verge of declaring a red alert in provincial capital Peshawar in the wake of the grim security situation there, with militants almost knocking at the door of the city.

The security officials in the province admit that Peshawar could soon fall to militant organizations.

"Peshawar is in a state of siege and if Peshawar falls, the rest of the districts in the NWFP would fall like ninepins. It would be a shame if Peshawar were to fall. It is not Swat. It is home to the headquarters of the 11th Corps, the paramilitary Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary and the police", the Dawn quoted a worried senior government official as saying.

The might of the militant groups operating around Peshawar from one to the other end is all too visible and alarming to ignore, he added.

The kidnapping of Christians from one of the NWFP's biggest teaching hospitals and the sighting of militants in the very heart of the military cantonment has made even the very laid-back sit up and take notice. Police stations in rural Peshawar have long given up patrolling at night after a contingent was blown up by a rocket-propelled grenade and charred bodies of policemen were retrieved and buried without allowing their dear ones to see their faces for the last time, said the paper.

So grim has the situation become that a committee that includes Chief Minister Hoti, Governor Owais and the Corps Commander Masood Aslam met on May 31 to discuss possible options for defending Peshawar.

The prime minister's adviser on interior, Rehman A. Malik, landed in Peshawar on June 19 to discuss the situation. The two meetings, however, yielded no results.

ANI

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