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PoK also bans jihadi outfits

K J M Varma in Islamabad | December 05, 2003 04:02 IST

The government of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Thursday banned six militant outfits proscribed by Pakistan recently, while President Gen Pervez Musharraf said his government would not permit the banned groups to resurface.

Official media reports from PoK said that the local government has banned six jihadi groups, including the Khadaam-ul Islam led by former Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, with immediate effect and put the Jamaat Ud Dawa, the parent outfit of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba on a watch list.

The other outfits banned are Sunni extremist group Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan, Islami Tehreek Pakistan, Jamaat-ul-Furqan (a breakaway group of KUI), Jamaat-ul-Insaar and Hizb-ul-Tehreer.

The Pakistani government had banned all these outfits two weeks ago. Most of them were just fronts for outfits banned last year.

According to a PoK home department notification, the offices of these organisations shall be sealed and their accounts frozen. All literature, posters, printing, electronic and digital materials shall be seized. Besides, publication, printing or dissemination of any press statements, press conferences or public utterances by or on behalf of or in support of a proscribed organisation shall be banned.

Meanwhile, Musharraf told a conference of Islamic clerics that his government was determined to root out extremism and militancy from Pakistan and sought cooperation from the Ulema and Islamic scholars.

Addressing a meeting of specially invited clerics from all over the country, he said the ban on extremist groups promoting militancy was a decision taken in the national interest after thorough consultations.

"It was not taken at the behest of any foreign influence," he said.

He added that the banned militant organisations would not be allowed to resurface under any new name. He urged the clerics to use their mosques and institutions to inspire and educate the masses about the impact of militancy and extremism on the country, both internally and internationally.

Stating that Pakistan's image suffered due to the extremist groups, he said no country could develop in isolation, as all countries are interdependent.

Musharraf told the clerics that he has been defending the country's madrasas as the greatest NGOs as they provided free boarding and lodging to over 800,000 students. But some of them were involved in spreading sectarianism, displaying arms and giving refuge to foreign students entering the country without valid documents.

He called for concerted efforts to end such practices as they have negative repercussions for the country and also create a bad perception about Pakistan in the world outside.

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