Dozens of religious activists rounded up ahead of rally

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 11:37:25 +0100

Dozens of activists affiliated with religious parties and groups have
been rounded up by police throughout the province ahead of the scheduled
protest demonstrations today against the ongoing operation and raids on
madrassas in tribal as well as settled districts of NWFP. 

Police raided houses and offices in different parts of the province
Wednesday night and yesterday to arrest activists of Jamaat-i-Islami,
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, defunct groups like
Maulana Sufi Muhammed Tanzeem Nifaz Shariat-I-Muhammedi, Sipah-i-Sahaba
and Tahrik-i-Jafria Pakistan. 

The arrests, police officials confirmed, have been made in Peshawar,
Bannu, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Dir and Mansehra while raids are being
conducted to nab the hardcore activists of these religious groups in
order to stop them from holding anti-U.S. demonstrations. 

The call to hold protest rallies was given by JUI-F, which was later
joined by Jamaat-i-Islami and other groups to joint raids by U.S. and
Pakistani forces on religious schools in North Waziristan Agency and the
arrest of two religious figures in Bannu by personnel of Pakistani
secret agencies. Mufti Iltimas, head of the religious school in Bannu,
where American Talib, Sulyman Faras (John Walker Lindh) studied for few
months before heading for Afghanistan to join Taliban forces, was
arrested along with another religious figure, Maulana Khizar Hayat for
investigations. 

Raids have been started on houses in Peshawar since Wednesday night and
so far a dozen of activists belonging to different groups have been
arrested and more arrests are expected tonight, police officials said. 

If not stopped by force, the protest demonstrations are likely to held
after he Friday prayers, JUI-F and Jamaat's sources said. 

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who was in Peshawar on Wednesday, is scheduled to
lead a protest rally in Mardan, while provincial leaders of
Jamaat-i-Islami will lead processions in Peshawar, the party sources
said. 

Police officers in D.I. Khan said that 26 arrests have been made, in the
sectarian proven city, as a pre-cautionary measure to prevent violence
in wake of the gory incident, which killed 15 persons, 11 French and
four Pakistani nationals. 

The arrested activists, police said, belonged to the defunct SSP and
TFJ. Sectarian violence took numerous lives from both sides in D.I. Khan
during he last several years. Six activists from SSP have been arrested
from Madrasas and houses in Mansehra district, police said. 

As many as 25 workers of TNSM have been arrested in Dir including
oordination secretary of the banned organisation, Mohammed Nageen,
district amir, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor and others, police officials
confirmed. 

Reports reaching here from Upper Dir also suggest that dozens of
activists of TNSM have been arrested in raids on madrassas and houses in
Maidan area of the district. Situation in North Waziristan, locals
informed, is also tense and the tribals seems annoyed by the raids on
religious institutions in search of Al Qaida and Taliban fighters and
presence of U.S. troops in the tribal areas. 

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has admitted presence of personnel from
the U.S. communication services in the tribal area, while officials from
the tribal administration deny presence of U.S. troops in the tribal
belt bordering Afghanistan. 

Meanwhile, explosion outside the offices of the political agent, South
Waziristan agency, has prompted the authorities to upgrade security in
the town. 

The boundary wall of the office of the political agent was partially
damaged in the bomb explosion on Monday night. This was the second bomb
blast outside the same office within three days. 

The earlier explosion also did not cause much damage to the building or
the wall. There were no injuries either due to the explosions. 

The site of the blasts is near a police post and an FC militia facility.


The authorities have sealed the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan
at Angoor Adda in South Waziristan tribal agency. The action has been
taken to prevent the infiltration of al-Qaeda and Taliban members from
Afghanistan. 

Militiamen have been deployed on the long border and the 'khassadar'
force in the towns of South Waziristan and on the roads has also been
alerted to nab any suspicious person. 

Source:  Gulf News

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