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April 4, 2018

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Nawaz, Shahbaz and Imran under TTP threat

ISLAMABAD: The banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is biding its time to target former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and their families.

“We have received multiple intelligence reports, submitted by the premier intelligence agency, that the TTP may attack the family members of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif,” a senior official of the Interior Ministry confided to this reporter.

Asked specifically if Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were also under threat, the source replied in the affirmative. Following the intelligence reports, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) dispatched a formal threat letter to the police and law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

The reports were received on April 1 and the same day an alert was issued to the departments concerned for taking preventive steps. A separate intelligence report was also received stating that the PTI chief Imran Khan faced a serious threat to his life.

The source claimed that the information about the threat had also been communicated to Imran Khan and his associates on the directions of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. The source claimed that the intelligence report was received a couple of days before Imran’s visit to Pind Daden Khan, Jhelum district, on March 14.

When this correspondent spoke to Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, the party’s central spokesman and a close associate of Imran Khan, he confirmed the threat. “Yes, we were conveyed about the threat officially,” Fawad said.

The source claimed that when Imran Khan was addressing party workers in Pind Daden Khan, a phone call had advised him to avoid public appearance. The call was also made to PTI leaders, including Fawad Chaudhry.

The calls were made on the directions of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. It is pertinent to mention that last year on December 27 exactly 10 years after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the ISI letter written to the interior ministry on December 19, 2007 surfaced in a media report in which it was claimed by the agency that Osama bin Laden had planned Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

Benazir’s assassins are still not known, as three accused arrested in connection with her murder have already been acquitted by an anti-terrorism court on August 31, 2017. However, the acquitted alleged militants are still in the Adiala Jail on the directions of the Punjab Home Department.

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