Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: The standoff between the Pakistani security personnel and the banned outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continued on Monday as the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) centre in Bannu is still under the control of the militants.

Last Sunday, some 25 arrested members of banned terrorist organizations were under arrest at Bannu police station when they took the guns from seven security personnel on duty and made them hostage, a police officer in Bannu told Pakistan's Dawn while asking not to be named.

According to the Dawn, the militants had also fired upon the security personnel, reportedly injuring a CTD man and a soldier. The militants had demanded a safe passage to Afghanistan.

Despite the passage of 24 hours, there has been no breakthrough in talks with the militants for the release of the hostages, reports Dawn.

The sources said that the top priority for the forces is to free the hostages from the clutches of militants.

To neutralize the situation, sources said, law enforcement agencies have decided to engage a cleric, Maulana Ahmadullah, from the Domail area of the city.

The cleric will be asked to reason with the TTP operatives who had taken CTD officials and other inmates as captives.

Meanwhile, the situation remained tense in the district bordering North Waziristan. The street is almost sealed and the roads leading to Bannu are also closed, reported Dawn.

A resident said that the situation was tense and fear persisted in the area. "The standoff and reports [videos of the compound] circulating on social media has aggravated our concerns," he said.

After the attack, TTP claimed the responsibility and said that their members had taken several CTD and security personnel hostages. In a statement, the group's spokesperson said that in an earlier video statement, the hostage takers had demanded a safe exit but they mistakenly mentioned Afghanistan since they were not aware of ground realities. He said that the group talked to government authorities overnight and asked them to shift the prisoners to North Waziristan or South Waziristan but there was no positive response from their side.

The militants inside the seized CTD center also released several videos earlier in the day, asking the people of Bannu, especially the ulema, to come forward and resolve the standoff between the militants and the law enforcers through dialogue, according to Dawn.

Earlier, the provincial government claimed no one had attacked the police station but added that some suspects in custody under suspicion of terrorism tried to snatch weapons from security personnel deployed on-site, the report said.

"The situation is under complete control. Security forces have cordoned off the area," he said, adding that an operation was underway and would be completed in a while.

This development comes after militants attacked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Lakki Marwat on Sunday, leaving four policemen dead. In Peshawar, KP CM's aide Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said the government will not fulfil any demand put forth by the militants and asked them to lay down arms, warning them of stern action in case of non-compliance.