QUETTA: Law enforcement agencies in Balochistan on Saturday launched a crackdown against stores openly selling hate literature and materials allegedly promoting militancy.
At least 40 shopkeepers were detained in Quetta for interrogation, while dozens were arrested from other parts of Balochistan during the raids.
“The campaign against hate material is part of a national policy formed against terrorism in the country in the aftermath of Army Public School massacre in Peshawar,” Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema, told reporters while providing details regarding raids at different shops in Kuchlak, an outskirt of Quetta.
Police, Frontier Corps, Balochistan Levies and intelligence agencies jointly raided the shops suspected of selling hate material.
“At least 49 computer hard drives, CPUs, five USBs, five audio cassettes, 46 booklets, two walkies talkies, and 75 detonators were confiscated from 20 shops in Kuchlak,” Cheema said.
He added that the confiscated material is being analysed to determine whether it is in fact hate material or not.
“There was some literature confiscated which supports the mindset of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other extremists.”
The Balochistan home department had held a high-level meeting before ordering crackdowns against shopkeepers allegedly selling hate material under the supervision of district administrations.
Balochistan Levies personnel carried out a raid in Naushki district and arrested 12 shopkeepers after seizing hate material and CDs.
Similarly, police, Balochistan levies and Frontier Constabulary raided shops in Sibi, Dera Allahyar, Chagai, Qila Saifullah, Qila Abdullah, Zhob, Kharan, Kalat, Mastung, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Harnai, Uthal, Awaran, Pishin, Loralai and other areas of Balochistan. More than a hundred shopkeepers were detained.
“The arrested shopkeepers are being questioned on whether they are involved in promoting militancy and spreading hate in the name of religion,” an official of the Home Department said. “There would be no mercy for those who are found guilty of selling hate material.”
Quetta police chief said a law already exists against those spreading hate and all who are found guilty would be dealt according to the law.