Three more religious groups banned
ISLAMABAD: The government banned on Saturday another three religious/charity organisations working in the country.
According to a senior official of the interior ministry, with the latest ban imposed on Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Al Harmain Foundation (AHF) and Rabita Trust (RT), the number of outlawed organisations and groups has risen to 38. The three organisations were outlawed by the United Nations in 2009 under a resolution adopted by the Security Council.
The ASWJ, known previously as the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), is taking part in activities of a recently-formed group of religious organisations, Difa-i-Pakistan Council.
The council recently attracted large crowds at some of its public meetings in different cities where it lambasted both Islamabad and Washington.
The council may strongly react to the government’s decision to ban one of its important members.
The AHF is a Saudi Arabia-based organisation and also working in Pakistan.
The official said the interior ministry had sent letters to the four provincial home secretaries, informing them about the ban on the three organisations. According to the BBC, ASWJ chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhyanvi expressed ignorance about any such ban. However, he said if it was true he would opt for a legal fight. “We are a peaceful organisation,” he was quoted as saying. “If anyone places a ban on us…they are trying to place a ban on Pakistan.”
A document, which the BBC describes as a notification issued by the interior ministry that was not publicly announced, claimed that the ASWJ was suspected to be involved in acts of terrorism in the country and, therefore, it was being added to the first schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The organisations previously banned by the government are: Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan (banned on Aug 14, 2001), Jaish-i-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, Tehrik-i-Jaafria Pakistan, Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, Tehrik-i-Islami (on Jan 14, 2002), Al Qaeda (on March 17, 2003), Millat-i-Islamia Pakistan, Khuddam-ul-Islam, Islami Tehreek Pakistan (on Nov 15, 2003), Jamiat-ul-Ansar, Jamiat-ul-Furqan, Hizbut Tehrir (on Nov 20, 2003), Khair-un-Naas International Trust (on Oct 27, 2004), Balochistan Liberation Army (on April 7, 2006), Islamic Students Movement of Pakistan (on Aug 21, 2006), Lashkar-i-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Haji Namdar Group (on June 30, 2008), Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (on Aug 25, 2008), Jamatud Daawa, Al-Akhtar Trust and Al-Rashid Trust (banned under the UNSC resolution 1267 on Dec 10, 2008), Shia Talba Action Committee, Markaz-i-Sabeel (Gilgit), Tanzeem Naujawan-i-Sunnat (Gilgit), People’s Aman Committee, Balochistan Republican Army, Balochistan Liberation Front, Lashkar-i-Balochistan, Balochistan Liberation United Front and Balochistan Musallah Difa Tanzeem (banned in 2011).
Sunni Tehrik was put on a watchlist on Jan 14, 2002.