The Punjab government has decided to investigate how Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat chief Malik Muhammad Ishaq and his two sons were able to obtain 11 arms licences from the Balochistan and Sindh governments, despite being residents of Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.
The provincial government is also seeking a reply from Interior Minister Rehman Malik on how Ishaq was allowed to travel abroad despite various cases pending against him under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997.
According to a confidential report prepared by the Special Branch (SB) of Punjab police, it seeks further action to investigate the matter.
The Punjab government sought the details of 11 weapons licences, which were issued from both Sindh and Balochistan in the name of Ishaq and his two sons Malik Muhammad Usman and Malik Muhammad Haqnawaz.
The report stated that Ishaq acquired five arms licences from the two provinces. Three for automatic weapons were issued by the Sindh government on a residential address in Jacobabad. Another two were issued by the Balochistan government with residential addresses of Jaffarabad and Quetta in the name of Ishaq.
Similarly, three licences for assault weapons were issued by the Balochistan government in the name of Usman. It also issued three in the name of Haqnawaz.
The report recommended that the Punjab home department can take up the matter with the interior ministry to investigate how they managed to obtain arms licences from the provinces of which they were not residents.
Punjab takes 119 LeJ, SSP, ASWJ in protective custody
The top authorities preferred to detain and not arrest members of ASWJ and banned outfits Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) in a province-wide operation.
As many as 119 members of the ASWJ, LeJ and SSP were taken in ‘preventive detention’ under the Maintenance of Public Order in a province-wide operation by the Punjab police and Counter-Terrorism Department, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Police and counter-terrorism officials claimed that some cases have also been registered against a leader as well as some activists of the SSP.
Malik Ishaq, Ghulam Rasool Shah, and Maavia Azam Tariq are already in police custody.
The persons named in the 4th Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 were detained from Lahore, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Faisalabad, Jhang, Sargodha, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalnangar, Bhakkar, Toba Tek Singh, Sialkot and other districts of Punjab during a crackdown, says a report of the Punjab police. The report has details from the counter-terrorism department and police regions and districts.
A control room has been set up in the office of the inspector general of police. A DIG and SP will directly monitor the control room as liaison officers and coordinate with the AIG operations.
Prominent among those hauled in include Maulana Abdul Hameed Khalid, the provincial chief organiser of the ASWJ. Sources familiar with the matter said a case of putting up a resistance during the crackdown has been framed against Khalid and numerous activists of the banned outfits.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2013.