Skip to comments.Islamists Arrested In Pakistani Clampdown
Posted on 11/16/2003 5:27:09 PM PST by blam
Islamists arrested in Pakistani clampdown
By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore
Pakistani police arrested dozens of Islamist activists yesterday after President Pervaiz Musharraf outlawed three militant religious parties that had reformed under new names following an earlier ban.
The banned groups are better known by their original names. Two are Sunni Muslim militant parties, Sipah-e-Sahab and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which have close links to al-Qa'eda. The third is a Shia party, Therik-e-Jafria.
"Those who are indulging in extremist acts are harming both Pakistan and Islam," Gen Musharraf was quoted as telling senior officials.
In addition, the largest extremist Sunni party, Lashkar-e-Taiba, was placed under scrutiny. All three Sunni parties have links to the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, and have been used by the ISI in the past to support Kashmiri rebels, the Taliban in Afghanistan and central Asian militants.
Police raided the banned parties' offices in major cities yesterday, closing them down and arresting activists and several Shia leaders.
Some European diplomats said the crackdown was largely cosmetic. It followed American pressure to act as well as the government's own fears that last week's bombings in Saudi Arabia and Turkey might herald terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
NEW DELHI (AFP) - India on Sunday said it was waiting to see how well a Pakistani ban on three religious outfits would work. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, said a foreign ministry official in New Delhi, adding that previous bans by Pakistan on such groups had been inadequate.
A formal reaction on the ban was expected on Monday from the Indian foreign ministry.
India has repeatedly demanded the dismantling of what it calls terrorist training camps in Pakistan and an end to the militancy in Kashmir before it can sit down for talks with Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute.
On Saturday President Pervez Musharraf banned three religious outfits as the government sought to curb attempts by outlawed militant groups to resume their activities under new names.
The move follows US ambassador to Pakistan Nancy Powells concerns over the re-emergence of the banned groups under different names on Thursday. The US envoy cited Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which were banned by Musharraf in January 2002 with three other extremist organisations.
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15: Offices of the banned militant organizations, which had relaunched themselves under new identities, were sealed in a nationwide swoop on Saturday night. In a related development, Allama Sajid Naqvi was arrested by Rawalpindi police. Later he was handed over to Islamabad police.
SSP Rawalpindi Syed Morawat Ali Shah said Mr Naqvi was wanted by Islamabad police in connection with the Maulana Aazam Tariq murder case and they had requested us to arrest him.
Police swung into action after Islamabad issued directives that a crackdown be launched against such outfits.
"We have been directed to take action against Khuddamul Islam, Tahrik-i-Islami and Millat-i-Islamia. Accordingly, we are locating their offices in the city," DIG Operations Karachi Tariq Jamil told Dawn over telephone.
Mr Jamil said police had located some 15 offices of such organizations and sealed them.
The police sources said the offices of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, which renamed itself as Millat-i-Islamia, had been sealed.
HYDERABAD: Police sealed offices of two banned Jihadi organizations.
The outfits whose offices were sealed were the Khuddamul Islam, formerly known as Jaish-i-Mohammad, and the Jamaat Al-Dawa, previously named Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, located at Tilak Incline.
LAHORE: Police sealed 14 offices and seminaries of the banned militant groups in different parts of Punjab, including the provincial metropolis, late on Saturday night.
Of them, nine offices and seminaries were sealed in Lahore, four in Faisalabad and one in Bahawalpur.
Elite Force personnel carried out the operation along with police. No arrest was reported.
Sources said the police were ordered not to arrest any activist of the banned militant groups.
In Lahore, the offices of the banned groups were sealed in Badami Bagh, Muslim Town, Bilal Ganj and Temple Road. In Faisalabad, Jamia Masjid Tandian Wala of Jammat-ul-Dawa, Jamia Masjid Kachari Bazaar of Millat Islamia, Jamia Masjid Diglis Pura of Millat Islamia and office of the Tehrik Islamia in Saddu Pura.
In Bahawalpur, the office of the Khuddam-ul-Islam in Model Town was sealed. Its leader, Masood Azhar, was reportedly in Karachi when the raid was conducted.
RAWALPINDI: Police here sealed at least 10 offices of the banned groups and also seized their record. Raids were continuing till the filing of this report. No-one was arrested, though.
Three offices, two of them belonging to Khuddam-ul-Islam, were sealed in Attock city. Similarly, two offices were sealed in Chakwal, two in Jhelum and three in Rawalpindi. Police officers were accompanied by commandos during the crackdown.
|The banned groups are better known by their original names. Two are Sunni Muslim militant parties, Sipah-e-Sahab and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which have close links to al-Qa'eda. The third is a Shia party, Therik-e-Jafria.
"Today we are the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward,
the most unhealthy, the most un-enlightened, the most deprived,
and the weakest of all the human race."
-- Pakistan President Perves Musharraf