Banned leaders dodge police in Pak capital

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 13:44

Islamabad: Outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Ahmed Ludhianvi played a cat-and-mouse game for almost six hours with police and paramilitary forces who were trying to prevent
them from entering the Pakistani capital.

Despite an order barring their entry into Islamabad,
Saeed and Ludhianvi sneaked into the city yesterday and joined
a rally organised by the Defa-e-Pakistan Council to pressure
the government not to reopen NATO supply routes which were
shut down last year.

While Saeed was able to address a gathering of thousands
of members of hardline and extremist groups at a short
distance from parliament, Ludhianvi was unable to speak due to
pressure from the security forces.

The capital`s "security apparatus" proved no match for
Saeed and Ludhianvi, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"They appeared and disappeared; were stopped and freed;
intercepted in their cars and protected by their armed guards,
as crowds gathered to watch the spectacle and traffic jams
ensued," the report said.

"Eventually the harassed, red-faced and embarrassed
policemen managed to hold Maulana Ludhianvi, only after
negotiations, while Saeed escaped," it added.

Ludhianvi was taken to a police station in the industrial
area on the outskirts of Islamabad and a case was registered
against on the complaint of a police officer.

Within minutes, however, the city administration granted him bail. At this point Interior Minister Rehman Malik intervened and blocked the bail.
Ludhianvi`s Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) is considered
a front for the Sipah-e-Sahaba, a notorious sectarian group
linked to several recent attacks on Shias.

Saeed and Ludhianvi both came to the Parade Ground near
parliament to join the protest by Defa-e-Pakistan Council.

On learning that police were going to arrest them, both
leaders left the ground. The head of the Secretariat police
station later intercepted Ludhianvi and said police were
arresting him in connection with a case registered at Margalla
police station. Ludhianvi demanded the warrant for his arrest.

When police failed to produce the warrant, ASWJ activists
took their leader away in a SUV. Policemen at check points and
patrol vehicles were alerted. Police also blocked roads to
intercept Ludhianvi.

As a result, hundreds of vehicles were stuck in a traffic
jam on the highway connecting Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

At around 6 pm, Ludhianvi`s SUV was spotted in the
traffic. Police then set up further blockades and senior
officers were called to the site with a contingent of the
Anti-Terrorism Squad.
Ironically, police guards provided to Ludhianvi by the
Punjab government aimed their weapons at the Islamabad police
while ASWJ activists cordoned their leader`s vehicle.

Though Ludhianvi`s vehicle was able to evade the police,
it was again intercepted on I J Principal Road.

Senior officials conducted negotiations with former
military ruler Zia-ul-Haq`s son Ijaz-ul-Haq, ASWJ leader
Fazlur Rehman Khalil and Abdullah Gul, son of former ISI chief
Hamid Gul, and took Ludhianvi to the police station.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 13:44

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