ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government has removed the names of MPA Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi and 300 others from the Fourth Schedule — the list of terror suspects.
Masroor, after his victory in the PP-78 Jhang-II by-poll in 2016, joined the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) after objections were raised over his affiliation with the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba (renamed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat).
His name was placed in the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 on May 9, 2014.
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According to sources in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Masroor's name was removed from the Fourth Schedule three days ago by the Punjab home department.
They added that the names of 300 other people were also removed from the list on the recommendation of a committee responsible for maintaining the list.
Nacta is likely to receive a letter from the home department in this connection on Monday after which the authority will ask the State Bank of Pakistan to order the unfreezing of Masroor and others' bank accounts.
Jhangvi’s assassinated father, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, was a fierce anti-Shia cleric who founded a feared Sunni sectarian group, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.
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Interestingly, the Election Commission of Pakistan had declared Masroor eligible for running for the seat even though his name was on the terror watch list.
The Fourth Schedule is a section of anti-terrorism law under which someone who is suspected of terrorism is kept under observation. It is mandatory for them to register their attendance with the local police regularly.
After every three years, the committees which operate on the district and divisional levels in a province review the list. They may add or remove someone's name from the list during this process.
Masroor had recently approached the Islamabad High Court to have his name removed from the Fourth Schedule.
MPA Masroor Jhangvi wants his name off the terror suspects list
His counsel, Tariq Asad, who also represents Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz and is the president of the mosque’s Shuhada Foundation, told the court that his client's identity card was blocked and he could not open or operate a bank account and draw his salary.
The counsel further argued that his client was not involved in any terrorist activity and never been convicted by a court or nominated in any criminal case, so his name should be removed from the list.
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