Peshawar: Around 500 tribal police officials heeded a warning from a Taliban-linked militant and failed to report for duty in the lawless border district of Khyber on Friday, a senior official said.
Pakistan launched a military offensive last week in the area -- home to the fabled Khyber Pass over mountains into neighbouring Afghanistan and where a suicide bomber killed 22 tribal policemen late last month.
The offensive is targeting fighters from Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam), a militant group battling the government in Khyber, which is part of Pakistan`s semi-autonomous tribal belt.
Militant commander Mangal Bagh, who has ties to the Taliban, in an FM radio broadcast threatened that lawmakers, Army and paramilitary troops in the region who did not resign would see their homes demolished and other harsh penalties.
Hours after the speech yesterday, militants blew up three houses belonging to khasadars or tribal police, to terrorise its members, residents said.
"Some 500 khasadars abdicated their duties today," Khyber region`s administration chief Tariq Hayat said.
"We have given them 24 hours notice, and if they fail to report by Saturday afternoon their services will be terminated," he added.
There are about 2,500 people in the tribal police in Khyber district.