Pak’s ANP wants crackdown on Muridke township

The Awami National Party is part of Pakistan`s ruling coalition.

Updated: Jun 07, 2010, 16:00 PM IST

Islamabad: The Awami National Party, part of Pakistan`s ruling coalition, has called for a crackdown on Muridke township in Punjab, where the headquarters of Hafiz Saeed-led JuD is located, as part of efforts to eliminate terrorist camps.

Top ANP leader Bashir Bilour, who is also Senior Minister in the government of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, yesterday called for a crackdown on Muridke to eliminate terrorist camps.

The headquarters of JuD, whose front organisation LeT is blamed for the Mumbai headquaters, is located in Muridke. Bilour and other ANP leaders have accused the Punjabi Taliban and other religious extremist organisations based in Punjab of carrying out terrorist attacks across Pakistan.

They demanded military action in southern Punjab and a crackdown on Muridke.

The terrorists have their camps in Muridke and their elimination is essential for uprooting terrorism, Bilour said.

Syeda Abida Hussain, a leader of the ruling Pakistan People`s Party, recently said she favoured drone attacks on alleged terrorist centres in southern Punjab and other parts of the province.

"If drone attacks can be carried out in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa...why not in southern Punjab?" she was quoted as saying by the media.

The presence of militants in southern Punjab has come into focus following a string of attacks in Lahore that were blamed on the Punjabi Taliban.

Terrorists recently struck two mosques of the minority Ahmedi sect and a hospital in Lahore, killing 100 people. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said groups in southern Punjab, including the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, have joined hands with Taliban and al Qaeda to destabilise Pakistan and to fan sectarianism and anarchy.

However, the PML-N-led government in Punjab has been reluctant to act against militant groups in the province. Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah openly campaigned along with a top Sipah-e-Sahaba leader during a by-election earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the JuD has described Senior Minister Bilour`s comments as "baseless and irresponsible" and invited ANP leaders to visit its headquarters at Muridke.

JuD spokesman Atiq-ur-Rehman Chohan said his organisation was not banned and its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed had been "acquitted by a court of law".

Chohan invited Bilour and other ANP leaders to visit the headquarters at Muridke to see the "religious and welfare activities" of the JuD.

PTI