Police swoop on banned outfits
By Abdul Manan, The Express Tribune, July 12, 2010
LAHORE: Police swooped on supected hideouts of outlawed militant groups in four districts across southern Punjab and rounded up more than three dozen people it claimed were front-ranking cadre of these organisations, officials said on Sunday.
The arrests were made following raids in Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan on the night between Saturday and Sunday. Officials told The Express Tribune that the crackdown was launched silently and without much fanfare.
According to a breakdown, eight suspects were arrested from Sahiwal, 12 from Bahawalpur, around half a dozen from Multan and the rest from Dera Ghazi Khan.
There are however indications that obsolete information was used to carry out clandestine raids on several madrassas and mosques as well as homes of suspected militants. Some police officials confirmed that law enforcement personnel had relied heavily on “outdated lists of sectarian people” – which had been prepared by the home department in 1990 – before mounting the operation.
They also said that their colleagues chose to fall back on the old method of detaining the suspects under section 16 of Mainte-nance of Public Order (MPO) which would guarantee them freedom in a matter of a week or a month.
According to sources, the raids on some homes brought embarrassment because the suspects who once resided there were no longer alive.
Their names were still present on the consolidated list of the home department though.
Insiders claimed that the police had spared Jaish-e-Muhammad from the operation it had carried out in Bahawalpur range.
Two decades ago, the home department prepared a consolidated list of around 800 persons who were involved in various acts of sectarian violence or other related crimes. It also circulated the names of sectarian outfits and identified them as approved persons who might be a threat to the law and order of the concerned district.
Sources added that the home department had been issuing this obsolete list of sectarian outfits even in 2010.
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