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Pakistan seals headquarters of Hafiz Saeed-led JuD, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; detains over 120 suspected militants

Lahore: Pakistan authorities on Thursday sealed the Lahore headquarters of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and detained over 120 suspected militants as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned groups.

"Under the National Action Plan (NAP), the government has taken complete control of the banned JuD and FIF headquarters in Lahore and Muridke," said a statement issued by the Punjab Home department Thursday.

It said the government has been taking over the control of the mosques, seminaries and other institutions of the banned organisations in the province. "We have intensified action against the banned organisations," it said.

 Pakistan seals headquarters of Hafiz Saeed-led JuD, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; detains over 120 suspected militants

File image of JuD chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. Reuters

A senior Punjab government official told PTI that the authorities have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, the Lahore headquarters of the JuD and FIF.

"At least six administrators of the Punjab government have been appointed at the Muridke headquarters of JuD and two in Lahore's," the official said, adding that the Jamia Qadsia has been sealed and will be opened once the administrators take over the charge.

The official said the Punjab government has also taken over the complete control of the JuD headquarters in Muridke, some 40-km from Lahore. However, the home department did not confirm it.

The official further said that Saeed and his supporters did not protest when the administration and police reached there to take over the control of the building.

"Saeed along with his supporters left for his Jauhar Town residence," he said. His whereabouts was not immediately known.

Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December, 2008. He was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.

"The ongoing operation against the banned groups would continue till achievement of objectives under the National Action Plan (NAP) of 2014," Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said, adding that efforts were being made to accelerate progress on NAP.

Some 44 activists of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other banned groups, including the son and brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, had already been taken into custody.

The Ministry of Interior said law enforcement agencies had taken 121 people into preventive detention as of Thursday in compliance with the NAP, formulated after the Taliban attack on an army school in Peshawar in 2014 that killed nearly 150 people, mostly students.

According to Punjab police, the government has seized control of 160 seminaries, 32 schools, two colleges, four hospitals, 178 ambulances and 153 dispensaries associated with JuD and FIF in Punjab.

The police confirmed that it has taken over more than 500 properties of the banned outfits and arrested more than 120 of their activists. "Most of the assets belonged to JuD and JeM," said an official of the provincial police.

Interestingly, the government had taken over the control of the JuD properties including its headquarters several years ago, but subsequently handed over to Saeed and company when the 'international pressure' eased.

At least 56 seminaries and facilities being run JuD and FIF in southern Sindh province have been taken over by authorities.

"The Sindh government also decided to move against the proscribed organisations after the crackdown started by the Centre," advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab said.

The confiscation of properties of JuD and FIF comes after Pakistan formally placed them in the list of banned organisations on Tuesday.

He said the schools, medical facilities and seminaries being run by the JuD and FIF will now be run by the provincial government.

The advisor said the two banned outfits were running their seminaries, schools and medical units in many parts of Sindh including Karachi, Matiari, Jamshoro, Sanghar, Tando Allahyar, Badin, Naushero Feroz and Shahdadkot.

According to officials, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

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Updated Date: Mar 07, 2019 23:53:58 IST

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