RAWALPINDI, Feb 12: As many as 13 people from across the province, who were placed on the police watch list under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, attended the funeral of a cleric killed in Talagang on January 23 without informing the police, it has been learnt.

Under the fourth schedule of the ATA, anyone placed on the watch list because of their suspected activities or after being released from jail cannot leave their hometown without taking permission from the police concerned.

A source in the police department told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that the counter-terrorism department of Punjab had requested the provincial government to direct the police to register cases against the 13 individuals.

Qari Mohammad Saeed of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat, a prayer leader of a mosque in Talagang, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on January 23.

The source said the CTD Punjab informed the provincial authorities that the 13 individuals had attended the funeral of the cleric without getting police permission. However, so far no action has been taken against them.

A cleric of a mosque located in Westridge in Rawalpindi was also among the 13 people.

The CTD had already asked the local police to take legal action against him for his alleged involvement in spreading sectarian hatred.

In another move, the home department has directed the divisional police chiefs and the additional inspectors general of the counter-terrorism department to keep a vigil on the activities of members of the banned outfits who have also been placed on the watch list.

There were intelligence reports that a large number of people, who had either been tried or involved in terrorist activities and later placed on the  watch-list, went missing from their listed home addresses.

According to Shoaib Aqeel, a police legal expert, people arrested for their alleged involvement in terrorist activities and later released are placed in the category IV of the ATA for monitoring their activities.

He said a surety bond was obtained from such individuals by the police for three years that prohibited them from leaving their hometown without police permission.

“Such people are bound to inform the police station of their area while leaving their hometown and on return. The three-year period is also extendable because some elements do not give up their previous activities,” he added.

The CTD Punjab also suggested registering criminal cases against those violating the law.

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