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Posts from — October 2015

Over 9,000 ‘hate preachers’ arrested under NAP

By Zahid Gishkori in The Express Tribune, Oct 23, 2015.
ISLAMABAD: Some 9,400 firebrand speakers and clerics have been arrested on charges of fanning the flames of sectarian hate as the government stepped up efforts to curb strife as part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

“All of them were found involved in fuelling sectarianism in the name of religion,” an official tasked with monitoring the progress of the action plan told The Express Tribune.

Law enforcement agencies have registered 9,689 cases against ‘hate preachers’ under the law that has banned hate speeches and misuse of loudspeakers.

Police have also arrested 9,354 religious leaders and clerics under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Penal Code.

Moreover, the home departments of all the provinces have barred 1,345 firebrand speakers belonging to different schools of thought from making speeches on Muharram 8, 9 and 10.

There is zero tolerance for hate speech in Pakistan, even if you are a cleric!

Around 6,504 cases against religious leaders have been registered in Punjab, 1,647 in Sindh, 1,286 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and 47 in Balochistan, reveals NAP’s progress report.

Meanwhile, 94 cases have been registered in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 91 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and 20 in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

Law enforcers have arrested 6,943 clerics in Punjab, 1,383 in K-P, 775 in Sindh, 38 in Balochistan, 122 in ICT, 53 in AJK and 40 in G-B.

Seventy-one shops or other sites involved in spreading hate literature in Punjab, Balochistan, AJK and G-B were also sealed.

Law enforcement personnel have also confiscated 2,129 materials from mosques and seminaries that were being used to incite hardliners to attack minority groups.

“We are serious about getting rid of all elements breeding extremism in our society,” said Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousuf.

Reacting to the ongoing crackdown, clerics have said the LEAs should not measure all religious teachers or scholars with the same yardstick.

Thousands of clerics have been imprisoned or are facing trial, said Abdul Quddus, spokesman for the Wifaqul Madaris (education board for seminaries). “All religious teachers are not terrorists.”

He urged the government to “consider us true representatives of this poor society”. He also claimed: “We, for sure, are the true guardians of this state.”

Yousaf said representatives of all schools of thought were cooperating with the government. “We believe we can win the war against extremism only if the clerics stand by us. And yes, religious leaders of all sects are supporting us.”

Senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader Prof Muhammad Ibrahim Khan also criticised the government for the crackdown. “Ulema’s arrest is not the solution to curbing extremism. Such arrests under NAP are meaningless because the action plan itself has several loopholes.” The detained religious teachers should be provided the right to defend themselves, he added.http://tribune.com.pk/story/977902/sectarian-strife-over-9000-hate-preachers-arrested-under-nap/

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Five arrested LeJ militants brought from Dubai

By IMRAN GABOL in Dawn, October 23, 2015

LAHORE: A militant allegedly involved in over two dozen terrorist attacks and his four accomplices were brought to Pakistan from Dubai on Thursday.

The suspects arrested in Dubai with the help of Interpol are believed to be involved in targeted killing of 12 people and the Mominpura massacre in Lahore.

The Punjab government had announced Rs2.5 million head money for Haroon Rasheed Bhatti, a proclaimed offender and founding member of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). He was a close aide of Malik Ishaq, the former chief of LeJ.

He is said to be involved in a massacre in Mominpura, Lahore, that left 25 people dead and more than 50 injured.

He is also believed to be behind the killing of DSP Tariq Kambo and his guard, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Maulana Shamsur Rehman Moavia, Dr Shabihul Hassan, advocate Shakir Ali Rizvi, bank manager Syed Waqar Haider and Dr Qaiser Abbas.

According to police, his other victims include eye surgeon Dr Syed Ali Haider and his son Syed Murtaza Ali Haider, Khateeb of Masjid Moti Bazaar Khurum Raza Qadri, Allama Nasir Abbas Multani of the Tehreek Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafaria and Syed Ali Hassan Qazalbash.

Bhatti is also accused of being involved in attacks on playwright Asghar Nadeem Syed, journalist and television anchor Raza Rumi and advocate Masood Abid Naqvi.

Police said all attacks had been carried out at the behest of the Malik Ishaq group of LeJ. Malik Ishaq, his two sons and 11 associates were killed in a police encounter near Muzaffargarh in July.

According to police, after obtaining secret information about the presence of Haroon Rashid Bhatti in Dubai, CCPO retired Capitan Amin Wains contacted Interpol a month ago.

After getting a reply from Interpol, he constituted a police team, led by CIA SSP Umar Virk, to go to Dubai to arrest Bhatti.

The team conducted a raid in Dubai in collaboration with Interpol, arresting Bhatti and his accomplices Ahmed Yar, Ghulam Mustafa, Tariq Nawaz Dhilon and Ayaz Ahmed.

The CIA team brought Bhatti and his accomplices to Lahore on Thursday and drove them to an undisclosed place for interrogation.

SSP Virk told reporters at Lahore Airport that the LeJ activists had been operating from Dubai and planning attacks on Muharram processions in different areas of Lahore.

According to a TV report, Bhatti was the last key leader of LeJ as all of its other leaders have either been killed in police encounters or arrested.http://www.dawn.com/news/1215016/five-arrested-lej-militants-brought-from-dubai

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Suicide blast outside imambargah in Bolan district kills 10: Dawn, Oct 23, 2015

QUETTA: A suicide attacker blew himself outside an imambargah in Bolan’s Goth Chalghari area on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and injuring many others, DawnNews reported.

“At least 10 people were killed and 12 others were wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up at an imambargah,” said Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti.

Local administration official Mohammad Waseem confirmed the attack and death toll.

Bugti said there were six children between 10 and 12 years old among the dead and that some women had also died. He added that the death toll may rise.

Waseem said the suspected suicide bomber appeared to be about 18 years old and was wearing a woman’s burqa.

Rescue workers and people of the area faced difficulties in shifting the injured to any hospital.

There is reportedly only one basic health unit in the vicinity, that too without a qualified doctor and proper health facilities.

More than a dozen people were injured in the blast, which rocked the village located in interior Balochistan.

Security forces reached the blast site and cordoned off the area.

According to initial police investigation, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an imambargah in Goth Chalghari area of Tehsil Bhag in Bolan district.

The injured would be shifted to civil hospital Sibi for medical treatment.

Security has been beefed up in and around the locality after the blast, with contingents of FC and police patrolling different areas.

Earlier in the week, a blast in a local bus killed at least 10 people, two of them children, on Sariab road. Twenty-two people were injured, six of them seriously.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch had condemned the blast and said, “I am personally monitoring the situation.”

Preparations were made to ensure that the Muharram passes incident-free and security plans to ensure the safety of processions were finalised.

Sectarian violence has claimed thousands of lives in the country over the past decade. Many of the worst atrocities have taken place in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

The gatherings and processions during Muharram mark Hazrat Hussain’s (RA) martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala, Iraq, in 680 AD.

Balochistan has been experiencing incident violence and targeted killings since more than a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.

While sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted the Hazara community, easily identifiable because of their distinctive physical appearance, other Shias — especially pilgrims travelling to and from Iran — have not been spared either.

The largest province of the country by area, is home to a low-level insurgency by ethnic Baloch separatists. Al Qaeda-linked and sectarian militants also operate in the region. http://www.dawn.com/news/1214862/suicide-blast-outside-imambargah-in-bolan-district-kills-10

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Houses of over 20 ‘militants’ destroyed in Mohmand: Dawn, Oct 23, 2015

GHALANAI: Political administration, security forces and local elders in a joint search operation demolished houses of 26 suspected militants in Dawezai area of Pandiali tehsil of Mohmand tribal region on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the agency administration, suspected militants targeted security forces and tribal people with improvised explosive devices in Dawezai area during the last two months.

Two volunteers of peace committees were killed in those blasts, the statement said, adding subversive acts were aimed at triggering panic and fear among the local tribal people.

During the joint search operation, security forces along with administration and elders of Dawezai, Utmanzai demolished 26 houses of suspected militants in the area.

Tribal elders had decided to take stern action against those tribesmen, who were sheltering anti-state elements in the area.

They said that terrorism was an issue for both the tribesmen and government so it would be rooted out in the tribal areas as soon as possible.

The tribal elders were asked to safeguard their schools and hospitals form militant attacks because the anti-state elements wanted to destroy those institutions.http://www.dawn.com/news/1215049/houses-of-over-20-militants-destroyed-in-mohmand

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Blasts in Bannu damage school, jeweller’s house: Dawn, Oct 23, 2015

BANNU: A girls high school and house of a local jeweller were partially damaged when improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by unknown miscreants near these buildings went off here on Thursday.

Unknown miscreants planted an explosive device near the building of government girls high school in Mandozai area of Sorani, which exploded with a bang, damaging the school building partially. The gate and boundary wall of the school was destroyed.

The bomb disposal unit in another case defused an IED planted by miscreants near a government girls primary school in the populated area of Fatmakhel. The miscreants also planted an IED near the house of a jeweller, Sirajuddin, in the jurisdiction of Miryan police station which exploded. The main gate and boundary wall of the house was damaged in the blast.

Local residents said that the miscreants had demanded extortion money from the jeweller. They said that it was the second IED blast near his house. In yet another incident the miscreants exploded an IED near the house of Ziaullah, Zakat chairman of UC Mondan. However, no damage was reported in the blast.

Following the attacks the security forces and police in a joint search operation arrested nine suspected persons and recovered arms from their possession. The detained persons have been shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.http://www.dawn.com/news/1215047/blasts-in-bannu-damage-school-jewellers-house

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Militants find breeding grounds in Pak universities

By Faraz Khan in The Express Tribune, Oct 23rd, 2015.
KARACHI: The arrest of Szabist professor Muhammad Owais Raheel for his alleged links with a banned terror outfit sent shockwaves among the academia in Karachi.

But if one is to assume this was an isolated case, it would be far from the truth. Contrary to popular perception, these ideologues have found the perfect breeding ground to spread their ideas in reputable institutions of higher learning, police investigators have learnt.

No one at Szabist knew of Owais Raheel’s ideas

Raheel, a graduate of the NED University of Engineering and Technology and an MBA from the Institute of Business Management (IBA) was allegedly recruiting young men for the Hizbut Tahrir (HuT), a banned terror outfit. His arrest was disclosed by the Counter-Terror Department incharge, Mazhar Mashwani, at a press conference on October 6. Mashwani claimed to have arrested Raheel from Boat Basin, with a large number of pamphlets HuT literature.

According to investigators, Raheel has confessed to have been affiliated with HuT since 2007. He is currently in the CTD’s custody for 90 days. “We are obtaining vital information from him that cannot be shared for obvious reasons,” said the investigation officer, Sohail, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Well-organised

Another official privy to the investigations revealed that Raheel was part of a well-organised group. “There are a number of such groups operating in the city,” he claimed. “Each group comprises four to six members. The troubling bit is that no member of the group even knows the identity of the other members, nor do they know how many such groups are operating in the city or the rest of the country,” added Sohail. “These outfits employ the same modus operandi as the Jundullah and the group responsible for the Safoora bus carnage.”

‘Good degrees and Kalashnikovs’

Speaking about Raheel’s affiliation with HuT, the investigators claimed he joined the organisation during his time at NED university. “While he was a student at NED, he was approached by some militants during lunch hours,” explained an officer. “The men convinced him and others to meet at a teashop near Maskan Chowrangi where they brainwashed him and others, finally convincing them to work for HuT.”

Raheel, though a resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, was tasked to distribute the organisation’s literature in mosques located in Defence and Clifton. The group stayed in touch through a communications software, ‘Viber’ and had been active for the last six months.

“Our high command had ordered us not to even inquire into the identity of the other members of the group and solely focus on the job at hand,” said the officer, while quoting Raheel. “We believe that a number of this organisation’s members are highly educated and are actively recruiting educated youth from well-reputed educational institutions.”

Disbelief

Meanwhile, Raheel’s wife, Noorulain Owais, came out to defend her husband. She published a blog on The Express Tribune’s website, dismissing all the allegations against her husband. “I was in complete shock. They were leveling false allegations against him and creating one fake story after another,” she wrote. The police officials say they have reason to believe otherwise.

Déjà vu

Karachi has seen its fair share of ‘educated’ militants by now. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, a member of the al Qaeda Council and the outfit’s media director definitely tops the list. Muhammad was a graduate from a US university. He is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay for his alleged involvement in the 9/11 attack and the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi.

Another example is Moeed Abdul Salam, a key al Qaeda operative, who graduated from one of the most reputed universities in the United States. Salam blew himself up during a paramilitary raid at his residential apartment in Gulistan-e-Jauhar in November 2011.

Two engineers, who were toppers from a Jamshoro university and were believed to be working for the Islamic State (IS), were killed when an intelligence agency, along with the paramilitary force, conducted a raid at their residential apartment in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. An intelligence official was also killed in the raid in August, earlier this year.

Perhaps the biggest such example was that of IBA graduate Saad Aziz and his gang members who were working for the IS. The recent arrest of the two young men by the Counter-Terrorism Department who were deported by Iran while on the way to Syria to join the IS forces was another shocker.

Investigators believe the militants are actively recruiting the educated youth of Karachi. What is missing is the government’s initiative to counter their efforts. http://tribune.com.pk/story/977709/sleeper-cells-awaken-militants-find-breeding-grounds-in-universities/

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Extortionists chop off victim’s ears: The Express Tribune, Oct 23, 2015

ABBOTTABAD: With varying versions of the story coming forth, a man reported four alleged extortionists chopped off both his ears. Police said on Thursday Ahsan Ali a jeweller in Haripur told them that Saqib, a resident of Jhugiyan in Abbottabad, and his accomplices had been extorting money from him for months.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ali said he was called to Abbottabad where Saqib, Salman and two unidentified persons beat him up for not bringing money they had asked for.

The accused shaved Ali’s head and chopped his ears off, police quoted the victim as saying. Ali reached Cantonment police station and filed a complaint against the four.

Ali was later hospitalised at Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Hospital Abbottabad. The police said Ali only received minor cut that could be self-inflicted. Medical Superintendent Dr Minhaj, however, said the victim’s left ear was 80% damaged while the right one was more than 50% injured.

Earlier, a teenage security guard was arrested from Sector G-13 in Islamabad after he demanded Rs5 million as extortion from a local businessman.

The head of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), SP Capt (retd) Ilyas Ahmed said Akhtar Ali, a resident of Nowshera, was working as a security guard in a private house in Sector G-13/4.

Ahmed said on July 28, a man had lodged a complaint at the Karachi Company Police Station after he received a call from Ali, who demanded Rs5 million as extortion from the complainant who owns a construction firm.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/977783/criminal-cruelty-extortionists-chop-off-victims-ears/

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Police deceive freewill couple, book man in kidnap case: Dawn, Oct 23, 2015

Police deceive freewill couple, book man in kidnap case: report in Dawn, October 23rd, 2015
BADIN: The woman who turned up at the Model police station of Badin city on Wednesday for protection after she said she embraced Islam and contracted a freewill marriage with a Muslim man earlier in the day was deceived by the police who did not produce her in court on Thursday morning as they had promised. Instead, they handed her over to her Hindu in-laws, who immediately took her to an undisclosed place.

Ms Rekha, aka Manisha, 23, left her home in Tando Bago to drop her two young children at their school situated within the town on Wednesday morning but proceeded to Badin city and appeared at the Model police station in the evening with Aftab Shar, claiming that they had just contracted a freewill marriage. The couple sought protection fearing some extreme action by her “former” husband, Mohan Lal, and his family members.

After keeping them at the police station overnight and promising that they would be produced in court in the morning, the police handed over the woman to Mr Lal and his family in the early hours of the day and booked Mr Shar for kidnapping the woman. The FIR was lodged by Mr Lal. Mr Shar was also shifted to some unknown place.

Mr Lal’s family along with the woman, who claimed she had changed her name to Aliya Shar, left the town soon after taking her custody.

Sources said that an influential politician based in Jamshoro played a key role in the woman’s handing over to Mr Lal.

When contacted for his comment, Badin SSP Ibrar Hussain Nekokar, who suspended Tando Bago SHO Bukhshal Jamali for his failure to track down the woman within a few hours after she did not return home on Wednesday, claimed that Ms Rekha’s claims about having embraced Islam and contracting a freewill marriage were false. www.dawn.com/news/1214919/police-deceive-freewill-couple-book-man-in-kidnap-case

October 23, 2015   No Comments