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January 13, 2018



72 militants arrested in KP were graduates, postgraduates

PESHAWAR: A number of militants held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last several years included some highly educated individuals with master’s degrees from various institutions of the country, an official source confided to The News.

The source stated that the regular police and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had carried out a number of operations across the province during the last few years and apprehended hundreds of militants.

“Over 1,650 militants have been held in operations by the CTD alone or with the local police since September 2014. A total of 1,182 militants associated with different groups were held from September 2014 till the end of 2016 while 473 were rounded up during actions in 2017,” an official serving in the headquarters of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police told The News.

“Some of those rounded up during these actions were highly qualified. As many as 36 had done their masters in various disciplines while another 36 have done graduation from different educational institutions of the country,” the source disclosed.

The militants were held for various offences including terrorist attacks and target killings during the last over three years. Almost all, or most, of these operations were carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Department in support of army, local police and other forces.

As Peshawar remained the prime target, with most of the attacks taking place in the city, the highest number of arrests was also made from the city.

“Despite being educated, many joined the militants because of their ideology as well as for other reasons,” a source said, adding that some key militants who surrendered in the past were also educated. 

The KP Inspector General of Police, Salahuddin Khan Mahsud, when contacted, told The News that this is a fact that some of the militants held in recent years were educated.

“The educated ones include those who studied at madrassas as well as conventional schools and colleges,” he said without elaborating.

“Apart from the graduates and those who had completed their masters in different subjects, there are around 100 others who had passed their intermediate examination while around 274 had done their matriculation,” the source disclosed.

They joined one militant group or the other after they left studies or were still continuing their education at various levels.

“The highest number of arrests of militants during the last over three years was made in Peshawar, followed by Swabi, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Mardan. In Peshawar alone, 328 militants were arrested which makes 19.81 percent of the total arrests,” the source said.

Nasir Khan Durrani, who headed the KP Police for over three years, explained that education raised awareness, coupled with increased sensitivity to the issues like social injustice, absence of the rule of law and discriminatory justice.

“Misinterpretation of Quranic injunctions without understanding reference to context and spirit of Islam and idealising era of caliphates and attributing downfall of Muslims to deviations from practices of that era are also among the factors of educated people joining militants’ rings,” Nasir Durrani told The News.

While going through the arrests made in the last almost 10 years, some of the arrested men were still studying in universities and professional colleges when they were held. According to Nasir Durrani, glamourising of vigilantism by the media and intolerance in society due to political and religious leadership are the other factors behind educated people joining militants.

The educated militants mostly did the job of writing literature for their respective groups and operating the social media.

“Out of more than 1,650 militants rounded up by KP Police in the last over three years, 163 went to madrassas for Islamic education. Of these, 94 passed the first grade of their madrassas and had to quit or were still continuing their religious schooling,” the source revealed.

Among those held, more than 300 were illiterate while the status of another 80 was not known, assuming they also could not receive formal schooling.

“A majority of the arrested men are between the ages of 20 and 30. Around 378 of the held militants were from the age group of 20 to 25 while another 330 were from 26 to 30 years old,” the source informed. “Another 140 of those arrested were teenagers aged 14 to 19 years,” he added.

Ideology and other factors were the reason for the involvement of these men in militancy, the source added.