Lahore: Under immense pressure from various quarters to take on the militant groups thriving in the province, the Punjab Home Department has set up a task force to crack down on 17 banned terror organisations including Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD).
As per reports, the provincial government has asked officials to launch a crackdown on militant hideouts and nab all those associated with the terror groups as soon as possible.
The task force has also been directed to trace people and organisations providing strategic and financial support to these 17 banned groups and take immediate action against them.
The list of 17 banned outfits includes groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), and others but it has no mention of the TTP.
Intriguingly, there is no mention of the most powerful of all the terror groups, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Confirming the development, provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told an Indian news channel, “Yes we are planning a crackdown on militants, this is a continuous process.”
“Arrest of members of such groups is likely provided that evidence is collected,” he said, adding that JuD is also under the scanner.
Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, who India says masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has also been barred from travelling abroad.
The provincial government said Saeed`s movements have not been restricted, but he and his two associates have been barred from travelling abroad. Their accounts have been frozen and they will not be able to get arms licences, Dawn reported Tuesday.
It may be noted that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had pointed that groups like the LeJ and SSP were operating in Punjab in collaboration with the TTP and al Qaeda.
However, the Punjab government has ignored Malik’s warning, which clearly points towards the rift between the federal and the provincial administration.
The ‘cold war’ between the PML-N led Punjab government and the PPP led federal government was out in open following the ghastly suicide attacks on the Hazrat Data Gunj Bukhsh shrine here last week in which at least 42 people were killed and over 175 injured.
While the federal government has been claiming that it had informed the Punjab government about the impending threat to the famous shrine and other religious places, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif denied receiving any such warning.