ISLAMABAD – Amid on-going media reports that the government had banned Haqqani Network and Jamat-ud-Dawa, the Ministry of Interior for the first time officially told a Senate panel that both the organisations have not been banned.
The disclosure has come at a time when the federal government was showing reluctance to comment on some media reports that Haqqani Network, a militant group based in North Waziristan and Jamat-ud-Dawa, a charity organisation run by Hafiz Saeed, had been banned.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in its last press conference had refused to comment on this issue.
“JuD has been kept under the observation (by the Ministry of Interior,” Muhammad Asghar Chaudhry, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Interior told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that met here on Tuesday under the chair of Senator Talha Mahmood. “However, I am even not sure whether Haqqani Network even had been placed under observation or not,” he said.
Under a procedure, the federal government places any militant or other organisation under observation on a watch list before banning it with a warning that it could be banned if it did not give up its terrorist or other suspected activities.
The additional secretary further said that there were total 62 proscribed organisations on the list of Ministry of Interior.
In addition to that, 10 organisations are facing sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolution. “We are receiving fresh requests for the banning of some militant organisations (from provincial law-enforcement and intelligence agencies) and these cases are under review,” he said.
The US had declared the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organisation in September 2012 while US and India both had always considered JuD, the charity organisation run by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, as the sister organisation of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant outfit facing blame of masterminding 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
JuD was placed on watch list in December 2008 after it faced sanctions from UN SC sanctions committee.
The additional secretary also told the committee that there were some reports that teenagers were being kidnapped from the capital and then trained in FATA or Afghanistan to fight Jehad. Telling the story of a teenager, he said that the young boy was kidnapped from a residential sector of the capital and later he came in contact with his mother and told her that he was getting militant training. Now, his family members came to know that he had been killed in a drone attack, he said.
As part of the government efforts to implement National Action Plan on Counter Terrorism, the Islamabad Police in a report told the committee that it along with the help of intelligence agencies had identified 198 suspects who are believed to be working for Ghazi Force, a militant wing of Lal Mosque formed after a military operation in Musharraf regime, under its surveillance plan and 111 suspects of this force are being monitoring.
The report says that capital police has traced 55 addresses of such suspects, addresses of 65 persons could not be traced, 56 people had been physically checked in this regard and 53 people of Ghazi Force had been interrogated completely.
The committee came to know that not a single person was convicted in kidnapping cases in the federal capital during 2014 though police registered 88 such cases. Two people were convicted in 2012 while 110 cases were registered.
Similarly, only one person was convicted in 2011 while police registered 76 cases that year.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tahir Alam Khan told the committee that 99 people were abducted/kidnapped from Islamabad during 2014 and 88 cases were registered while 75 people could be recovered, 38 cases were challaned, 40 cases under investigation, 35 under trial, one case remained untraced, nine cases cancelled and three suspects got acquittals.
According to the report, during the first two-week of this month, two cases of kidnapping were registered in Islamabad in which two persons were abducted and both the cases were under investigation.
Similarly, in year 2013, 110 people were abducted and 95 cases were registered and out of them 21 cancelled being termed as fake, 57 challened, 3 untraced, 14 under investigation, 99 persons recovered, 46 cases are under pending trial and 10 suspects get acquittals from courts.
In 2012, 76 persons were abducted, 64 cases were registered, 24 cancelled, 36 challaned, four under investigation, 64 people recovered, 28 pending trial and six suspected acquitted by courts.
Giving a briefing to the Committee, IGP Islamabad told the Committee that a number of steps had been taken to enhance the security of schools in the capital area after December 16 incident of terrorism attack on Army Pubic School in Peshawar. He said that an on-line system of warning for immediate information to police had been established in schools and Rangers as well as police patrolling had been enhanced during school hours.
Citizens Security and Vigilance Committees have been formed and 2994 volunteers had been inducted in these who are working in 99 beats, he said.
A special SMS service has been introduced to inform the police about any emergency or suspect activity, he said.
Chief Commissioner Islamabad told the Committee that there were total 1600 schools in Islamabad including 422 government schools and more than 1100 private schools.
He said that a security audit of schools was conducted and workshops were being arranged for the school children. About the non-confirming use of houses in the capital, CDA told the Committee that 450 private schools, 206 guesthouses and 904 offices are working in the residential areas.
Member CDA informed that 48 bachelor hostels are operating in Sector I-9, 32 in Sector G-9 and 26 in Sector I-10.
The Committee recommended for the enhancement of strength of Islamabad Special Branch Police and for the enhancement of strength of Citizens Vigilance Committees.
Earlier, the Committee members including Tahir Mashhadi, Mukhtair Ahmed Damrah and Sardar Ali Khan staged a token walkout from the Committee protesting over the absence of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.