December 2003 News

10 offices sealed in AJK: Two banned organizations

4 December 2003
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

MUZAFFARABAD: In a major crackdown, authorities in Azad Kashmir have sealed at least 10 offices of two militant groups outlawed by Islamabad last month, officials said on Thursday. They said police shut down nine offices of Khuddamul Islam and one office of Jamiatul Ansar. The Pakistan government last month banned Islami Tehreek Pakistan, Millat- i-Islamia Pakistan, Khuddamul Islam, Jamaatul Furqan, Jamiatul Ansar and Hizbul Tahreer under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997. Another group, Jamaatul Dawa, was placed under observation under the provisions of the same act. Action had been taken on a directive of the interior ministry in Islamabad received on Nov 25, asking the AJK government to take action against those militant and sectarian outfits which had been banned by the Pakistan government under the relevant laws applicable in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani laws are not directly applicable in Azad Kashmir and could only be applied here after their adaptation by the state's legislative assembly. The interior ministry directive asked the AJK government to seal the offices of the proscribed groups, freeze their bank accounts and seize their literature, posters, banners and other printing material. An official told Dawn from the southernmost Bhimber district that one office of Jamiatul Ansar and three offices of Khuddamul Islam were sealed in Samahni, while one office of Khuddamul Islam was also sealed in Barnala on Thursday. Literature of the outlawed groups was also confiscated but no arrests were made, he said. In the neighbouring district of Mirpur, two offices of Khuddamul Islam were sealed in the towns of Mirpur and Dadyal, whereas in Kotli the office-cum-residence of the same group in Chowk-i-Shaheedan was sealed on late Wednesday. Police sources in Muzaffarabad told Dawn that two offices of Khuddamul Islam were sealed in Chehla Bandi and Sangri Mera localities of the town. Khuddamul Islam and Jamiatul Ansar were previously functioning as Jaish-i-Mohammad and Harkatul Mujahideen, both blamed by India for a number of deadly attacks against its military installations. Officials here say that other outfits do not have presence in Azad Kashmir.


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