Punjabi security forces, including the province’s Pakistan Rangers and the Counter-Terrorism Department of Police, announced on Monday, June 19, that 23 militants have been arrested in various areas of Punjab province. Officials said that three members of the banned Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were among those arrested for plotting a terrorist attack on the city of Bahawalpur on Eid day (June 25). Most militants were arrested in the Kharian and Sarai Alamgir tehsils of Gujrat district; authorities accused the suspects of being involved in facilitating terrorist operations.
The arrests are part of Operation Raddul Fasaad, which was launched in February 2017 after a string of terrorist attacks across the country.
Extremist Islamist groups, including the TTP and various terrorist groups under its umbrella, continue to pose a threat throughout the country despite continued army offensives to push them from their northwestern strongholds near the Afghan border. Pakistan suffered a number of deadly attacks earlier in the year, notably in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Tribal Areas, Peshawar, and Lahore.
Due to the high threat of terrorism (as well as kidnapping and sectarian violence), individuals present in Pakistan are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities. To reduce the risk of kidnapping, individuals should avoid falling into daily routines (e.g. vary the times and routes of travel) to avoid becoming a predictable and vulnerable target. Some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to Pakistan, where foreign nationals, in particular Westerners, may be directly targeted.