90 terror operatives arrested in Pak`s Punjab

Pakistani authorities have arrested 90 operatives of banned militant groups in Punjab province.

Updated: Jul 13, 2010, 15:30 PM IST

Lahore: Pakistani authorities have arrested
90 operatives of banned religious and militant groups,
including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, during a
crackdown on the Punjabi Taliban and its allies in the
southern part of Punjab province.

Punjab police chief Tariq Saleem Dogar said that an
operation has been launched against "suspected elements of
proscribed organisations."
The banned groups targeted in the crackdown include LeT,
JeM, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and

"We have detained dozens of people of such organisations
(who were) involved in several cases of sectarian violence and
whose names were included in the fourth schedule of the
Anti-Terrorism Act," Dogar said.

"We are also focusing on the arrest and surveillance of
people listed in categories like Afghan-Trained Boys, Returned
Afghan Prisoners and Lal Masjid elements," he said.

The arrests were made in the districts of Multan,
Khanewal, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Vehari, Bhakkar, Buraywala,
Sialkot, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Jehlum,
Koshab, Chakwal and Narowal.

Among the 90 activists of the different banned groups
held, at least 20 were captured in Multan while 19 were
arrested in Lahore.

Punjab Police spokesman DIG Naeem Brokha said raids would
continue in the days to come.
"The raids have compelled the activists of proscribed
organisations to go under-ground," he said.

Reports said the arrested activists were being held under
the provisions of the Maintenance of Public Order law.

Punjab Police have also been directed to check the
activities of outlawed organisations, including meetings,
recruitment of new members, display of flags and provocative
speeches by the leaders of radical groups.

Provincial police chief Dogar said police have been
directed to strictly check each and every activity of elements
who were involved in making provocative speeches, painting
objectionable graffiti and distribution of hate material.

Police have been advised to prevent any movement or
activity by people linked to proscribed organisations, he

A senior officer from a security agency, who did not wish
to be named, told agency that law enforcement agencies had not
made any efforts to maintain record of new members of
proscribed organisations.

List of different categories of people linked to such
groups too had not been updated for several years and this was
causing problems, he said.

"We are relying on old records, which is hindering the
operation," he said.

The PML-N-led government in Punjab was forced by the
Pakistan People`s Party government at the centre and
intelligence agencies to crack down on banned groups in the
wake of the recent devastating suicide attack on the Data
Darbar shrine in Lahore that killed 45 people.

Leaders of dominant Barelvi Sunni organisations have also
been pressuring the Punjab government to launch an operation
against the Punjab Taliban since suicide bombers killed
anti-Taliban cleric Maulana Mufti Naeemi and attacked the Data
Darbar shrine.

They have also demanded the sacking of Punjab Law
Minister Rana Sanaullah for his "links" with the banned
Sipah-e-Sahaba group.