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Punjab crackdown is a national operation, says law minister

Updated March 29, 2016

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Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference. ─ DawnNews
Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference. ─ DawnNews

LAHORE: A day after the military confirmed launching a crackdown against terrorists in Punjab, provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said the operation launched in the province is a "national operation."

The minister said the country's complete political leadership, religious parties, opposition and the government are backing the crackdown.

Giving some details on the modalities of the operation, Sanaullah said action will be taken jointly by all law enforcing agencies.

"Some kacha areas have been identified where operations will be launched by police, elite force and the counter-terrorism department, and if need be Rangers and Army will be called in."

The law minister's conference comes an hour before ISPR chief Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid are scheduled to address a joint conference in Islamabad. The two are expected to talk on security issues.

Trying to play down speculation on differences between the government and the military, the minister said:

"Some elements that are trying to create gaps or spaces in our joint efforts will fail. This operation will continue with the same passion and soon the entire nation will stand victorious."

Sana emphasised that all law enforcement agencies, be it police, CTD, ISI or Rangers, are operating together to achieve their targets.

He said over 15,000 seminaries had been geotagged and dispelled the notion that no-go areas exist in Punjab. "The impression that no-go areas exist in Punjab is wrong," he said.

In the past 24 hours, he said, police had conducted 56 operations, the CTD 16 operations, and local police with the support of intelligence agencies had conducted 88.

A total of 5,221 people had been rounded up during the operations, of which 5,005 were released after data verification, the minister said

There are around 1,550 people on the fourth schedule, and nearly 1,000 were arrested, he said.