BAHAWALPUR: In pursuance of the federal government’s announcement following a decision made by the National Security Committee, the Bahawalpur district administration, after taking over the control of a seminary and a mosque said to be associated with the leadership of the proscribed organisation Jaish-i-Mohammad (JeM), appointed administrators on Saturday to look after the two institutions.

According to the district administration, Mohammad Ali, district Auqaf administrator, and Ghulam Abbas, regional Auqaf administrator, have been assigned the duty to supervise the administrative affairs of Jamia Masjid Subhan Allah and Madressah Al-Sabir, respectively.

Jamia Masjid Subhan Allah is located in the thickly populated area of the industrial area in Model Town-B of Bahawalpur while Madressah Al-Sabir is situated on Bahawalpur-Ahmed East highway on the outskirts of the city.

Deputy Commissioner of Bahawalpur Shozeb Saeed, accompanied by other government officials, on Friday night visited the two institutions linked with Maulana Masood Azhar, who led the JeM which was banned by the government in 2002.

Since then, special branch of police, Counter-Terrorism Department and other law enforcement agencies have regularly been monitoring the mosque and the madressah, particularly after introduction of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism in 2015.

Maulana Azhar hit the headlines when he was released from an Indian jail in exchange of the passengers of a hijacked plane of the Indian Airlines in 1999.

The district administration on Saturday arranged a visit to Madressah Al-Sabir by an electronic media team which found no evidence that the seminary was involved in terrorist activities, as claimed by Indian media. The media team was told that over 600 students were being imparted religious education by about 70 teachers at the seminary.

A contingent of personnel of law-enforcement agencies has been deployed at the seminary.

An interior ministry spokesman has said the takeover of the two institutions was aimed at expediting the implementation of the NAP. He denied Indian media reports that the seminary was involved in terrorist activities.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2019