ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday authorised the provinces to take action against Ansarul Islam, the khaki-clad volunteer force of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), and exercise their power to “ban” the organisation under the Private Military Organisations Act 1974.

The notification to this effect was issued by the Ministry of Interior on Thursday, a day before the government-opposition talks on the Azadi March.

The notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn, says the federal government has “reasons to believe that Ansarul Islam, a private militia/razakar force of JUI-F Group is capable of functioning as a military organisation in violation of the prohibition contained in Article 256” of the Constitution.

Nacta says IS group planning attacks during Azadi March

It says that “in pursuance of approval of the federal government in terms of Article 146(1) of the Constitution and after obtaining the consent from the provincial governments”, the federal government through the interior ministry “entrusts the provincial governments the power to take appropriate actions under Section 2 of the Private Military Organisations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act 1974 against Ansarul Islam which shall, inter alia, include the power to ban/abolish the said organisation.”

Article 146(1) allows the federal government to delegate any of its powers to the provinces, conditionally or unconditionally, with the consent of provincrs.

Last week, the interior ministry had suggested abolishment and banning of the “militant wing” of the JUI-F through a summary forwarded to the federal cabinet.

Meanwhile, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) issued a nationwide terror alert, saying that Daesh was planning countrywide attacks during the upcoming JUI-F-led anti-government protest of opposition parties.

A Nacta letter, which was forwarded to forces, intelligence chiefs, Frontier Corps KP and Balochistan, Frontier Constabulary KP, political leadership of the country, provinces, Islamabad administration, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK, warned of terror acts by the militant Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) group.

According to the letter, intelligence reports suggest that terrorist organisation ISKP was planning to launch terrorist attacks in major cities during the upcoming march.

“Likely targets of attacks may include the main leadership of political parties, personnel of law-enforcement agencies and general public,” the Nacta said.

“It has also been learnt that terrorist organisations, especially ISKP, will use Azadi March as a conduit to spread its tentacles and infiltrate into major cities of the country in the garb of Azadi March participants,” the letter said.

The letter asked law-enforcement agencies and general public to observe extreme vigilance and caution and adopt maximum precautionary measures during the march.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2019