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Pakistan continues crackdown against JuD

Source: PTI
December 12, 2008 15:54 IST
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Stepping up operations against terror groups, Pakistani security forces on Friday sealed more offices of the Lashker-e-Taiba's front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah across the country and reportedly rounded up dozens of its activists.

The clampdown, which started after sundown on Thursday with the group's founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed being put under house arrest, continued today with JuD offices locked up in other parts of the country.

The Pakistan government launched the operations after a United Nations Security Council panel designated the Jamaat a front for the LeT and placed four Lashker leaders, including Saeed, on a list of terrorists subject to sanctions.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told reporters that the decision to crack down on the Jamaat was taken by President Asif Ali Zardari after a series of meetings with officials of the interior and foreign ministries on Thursday.

Special Superintendent of Police (Operations) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmad told state-run APP news agency that Saeed had been detained at his house in Block 116-E, Johar Town in Lahore for three months.

"A heavy contingent of police has been posted outside his residence," Ahmad said.

A report said Saeed was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

Media reports said dozens of Jamaat activists had been detained in Punjab province, cities like Quetta and Mansehra and other places but there was no official word on this development.

The State Bank of Pakistan on Thursday ordered all banks to freeze the assets and bank accounts of the Jamaat and four LeT leaders designated as terrorists by the UN Security Council.

Police said besides Saeed, seven other Jamaat leaders, including Colonel (retired) Nazir Ahmed, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki and Zafar Iqbal, had been detained in their homes.

Jamiat-ul-Qadisia, the headquarters of the Jamaat at Chowburji Chowk in Lahore, was sealed. Eighteen other Jamaat offices across Punjab province, including five in Sialkot, too were sealed.

Jamaat offices were also closed in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Kot Addu, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, Mansehra, Kohat and Karachi.

In Quetta, police sealed the Jamaat office and detained four activists. A camp opened in Ziarat by the group for victims of the recent quake in Balochistan too was closed.

Attiqur Rehman Chohan, a spokesman for the Jamaat in North Western Frontier Province, told the Dawn newspaper from an unspecified place that the group had decided to close its offices in Peshawar and other cities and suspend its activities 'for the time being'.

Chohan said the Jamaat's leaders were in touch with the NWFP government and major political parties and the ban on the group would be raised in national and provincial  assemblies.

A spokesman for the State Bank of Pakistan said the central bank had frozen the bank accounts of the Jamaat, its leaders and two sister organisations  Al-Rashid Trust and Al-Akhtar Trust.

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