LAHORE: The Punjab Counter Terrorism Department, in association with the intelligence agencies, arrested as many as 182 members of various banned outfits, including 39 from Lahore, during search operations in the past two days.

A CTD spokesman said a list of more than 500 members of banned outfits, including Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-i-Mohammad (SM), was prepared jointly by intelligence agencies and CTD spy wing.

He said it was decided in the regional police officers (RPOs) conference that the members of banned outfits operating in different areas of the province would be arrested. Following the meeting, a campaign was launched against such elements, he added.

He said during the drive, 182 banned outfits members had been taken into custody from different regions and efforts were being made to track down others.

“As many as 39 members of LeJ and SM residing in different areas of the provincial capital have been arrested and shifted to undisclosed locations for interrogation”, he said.

He said in the light of intelligence reports search operations were being carried out with the collaboration of intelligence agencies in different areas, including Mustafa Town, Cantonment, Green Town, Badami Bagh, Johar Town and Masson Road.

He said there were reports that these suspects had been in contact with hardcore terrorists.

Replying to a question, he said earlier it was decided to start electronic surveillance of more than 1,600 Fourth Schedulers but due to some technical issues the law-enforcement agencies had not yet started installing tracking devices to monitor their movements.

He said the Fourth Schedule defines a terror suspect as a “person who is concerned with terrorism or belongs to a proscribed organisation”.

The spokesman said due to lack of evidence against the Fourth Schedulers, they could not be imprisoned and a majority of them were in contact with hardcore terrorists.

Through electronic surveillance they could be monitored easily, he added.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Punjab police Mushtaq Sukhera held separate meetings with RPOs and DPO’s of Sargodha and Faisalabad to discuss law and order situation of the regions.

He directed the authorities to enhance the security of important buildings, markets, bus terminals, public places and sensitive installations.

The IG said specials efforts should be made to guard the prisoners during the court hearings and checking of all the prisons should be ensured on a regular basis.

He also directed the authorities to enhance the monitoring of Fourth Schedulers in their respective areas and also ensure the security of minorities’ worship places.

Mr Sukhera directed the RPOs to address the grievances of the policemen and take steps for the force’s betterment.

MISSING: A member of a banned outfit who had been placed under house arrest allegedly went missing.

Police said Ghulam Raza Naqvi, of banned Sipah-i-Muhammad, a Fourth Scheduler, had been detained in his Hanjarwal house.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2015

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