Lahore, Sept 23 : Militants in tribal areas in the NWFP have firmly set up their network in the Punjab province and young boys were being recruited from there, warned NWFP Governor Owais Ghani.
He said that Punjab was fast turning into a hotbed for terrorists.
"Militants in the tribal areas of the NWFP have established firm networking (with jihadi groups) in southern Punjab and most fresh recruits for suicide attacks are coming from there. Militant leaders and commanders are also coming from Punjab. The militants' field commander in Swat too is from Punjab," the Dawn quoted Ghani as saying at a press conference.
The Governor's warning assumes significance, especially in the wake of recent arrests of a few persons in Punjab province in connection with the Marriott bombing.
Ghani also warned against treating the insurgency in the tribal areas. "It will be ill-advised to think that the militancy will remain confined to the NWFP. Militants' activities have already shifted to the settled areas and Punjab and they have established strong links with south Punjab. It's a national issue, a question of survival for (entire) Pakistan," he added.
He said he had discussed the matter with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and expressed the hope that the Punjab government would "effectively handle the situation". "Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is also said to be aware of the issue of recruitments of suicide bombers from his constituency, said Ghani.
He said the issue of militancy could not be resolved without restoration of 'political peace' and tranquility in Afghanistan. "However, we are trying to contain it and lower its intensity," he added.