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Pak seals JuD HQ; detains over 120 suspected terrorists

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 07, 2019 23:53 IST
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At least 56 seminaries and facilities being run by JuD and its wing FIF in Pakistan's southern Sindh province have been taken over by authorities.

Pakistan authorities on Thursday sealed the Lahore headquarters of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and detained over 120 suspected terrorists as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned groups.

"Under the National Action Plan (NAP), the government has taken complete control of the banned JuD and FIF headquarters in Lahore and Muridkey," said a statement issued by the Punjab Home department on Thursday.

Will soon respond to Indian dossier on JeM: Pak

Pakistan on Thursday said it will 'soon' respond to a dossier handed over to it by India on 'specific details' of involvement of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the deadly Pulwama terror attack as also the presence of camps of the United Nations-proscribed terror outfit in the country.

"It's being evaluated and a response would be given soon," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told reporters in Islamabad.

The JeM had taken the responsibility of the attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

Responding to questions during his weekly media briefing, Faisal claimed Pakistan 'defeated India militarily, diplomatically and politically in the ongoing border row, which has de-escalated over the past few days'.

"Our desire is peace but when we talk it is considered weakness," he added.

On the Kartarpur corridor, Faisal said it was a project initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, for which a Pakistani delegation will be visiting India on March 14.

He said India first suggested that meeting be held in New Delhi, which Pakistan accepted, however, the venue was later changed to Attari.

"Pakistan again agreed with Indian suggestion and if circumstances are not changed until March 14, then the Pakistani delegation will visit India," he said.

India and Pakistan agreed to open up a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur -- the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev -- to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free visit of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Kartarpur.

It said the government has been taking over the control of the mosques, seminaries and other institutions of the banned organisations in the province.

"We have intensified action against the banned organisations," it said.

A senior Punjab government official told PTI that the authorities have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, the Lahore headquarters of the JuD and FIF.

"At least six administrators of the Punjab government have been appointed at the Muridke headquarters of JuD and two in Lahore's," the official said, adding that the Jamia Qadsia has been sealed and will be opened once the administrators take over the charge.

The official said the Punjab government has also taken over the complete control of the JuD headquarters in Muridke, some 40-km from Lahore. However, the home department did not confirm it.

The official further said that Saeed and his supporters did not protest when the administration and police reached there to take over the control of the building.

"Saeed along with his supporters left for his Jauhar Town residence," he said.

His whereabouts was not immediately known. Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

He was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.

The ongoing operation against the banned groups would continue till achievement of objectives under the National Action Plan (NAP) of 2014, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said, adding that efforts were being made to accelerate progress on NAP.

Some 44 activists of Jaish-e-Mohammed and other banned groups, including the son and brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, had already been taken into custody.

The Ministry of Interior said law enforcement agencies had taken 121 people into preventive detention as of Thursday in compliance with the NAP, formulated after the Taliban attack on an army school in Peshawar in 2014 that killed nearly 150 people, mostly students.

According to Punjab police, the government has seized control of 160 seminaries, 32 schools, two colleges, four hospitals, 178 ambulances and 153 dispensaries associated with JuD and FIF in Punjab. The police confirmed that it has taken over more than 500 properties of the banned outfits and arrested more than 120 of their activists.

"Most of the assets belonged to JuD and JeM," said an official of the provincial police.

Interestingly, the government had taken over the control of the JuD properties including its headquarters several years ago but subsequently handed over to Saeed and company when the 'international pressure' eased.

At least 56 seminaries and facilities being run JuD and FIF in southern Sindh province have been taken over by authorities.

"The Sindh government also decided to move against the proscribed organisations after the crackdown started by the Centre," advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab said.

The confiscation of properties of JuD and FIF comes after Pakistan formally placed them in the list of banned organisations on Tuesday.

He said the schools, medical facilities and seminaries being run by the JuD and FIF will now be run by the provincial government.

The advisor said the two banned outfits were running their seminaries, schools and medical units in many parts of Sindh including Karachi, Matiari, Jamshoro, Sanghar, Tando Allahyar, Badin, Naushero Feroz and Shahdadkot.

According to officials, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service.

The two groups have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.

It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

Saeed barred from delivering Friday sermon in Pak

Saeed also has been barred by the government from delivering weekly Friday sermon at JuD headquarters in Lahore.

This is perhaps for the first time in years that Saeed despite being present in Lahore will not be able to deliver Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid Qadsia, the JuD headquarters.

Saeed was never stopped from delivering Friday sermons even during the years when Masjid Qadsia's control was under the Punjab government.

"As the Punjab police have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, Saeed will not be allowed to enter the premises to give his weekly sermon on Friday," a senior official of the Punjab government told PTI.

"Saeed requested the Punjab government to allow him give sermon on Friday at Qadsia Masjid but it was turned down.

"This is significant with regard to the 'clout' of Saeed as for the first time he is not being allowed by the government to give sermon on Friday," he added.

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