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Over 400 activists arrested, claims ASWJ

BAHAWALPUR, Feb 24: Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) central Information secretary Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui, who had survived a life attempt in December in Karachi, and Bahawalpur chapter chief Rao Javed Iqbal have alleged that more than 400 activists of defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi were detained in police crackdown on Saturday night throughout Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Aurangzeb Farooqui criticised the statement of Interior Minister Rehman Malik about involvement of LJ men in terrorist activities. He rejected Malik’s claim that LJ had two groups being led by Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi and Malik Muhammad Ishaq. He said ASWJ was not involved in Quetta carnages. He said by courting arrest, Malik Ishaq had proved his innocence. He said sectarian incidents did not take place in Balochistan. “In fact attacks in Quetta are the result of feuds.”

He alleged that some of the foreign powers were involved in the firing incidents in Balochistan.

He said a crackdown on ASWJ workers had been carried out following sit-ins by families in Quetta and all over the country.

Farooqui protested against the killing of his men in Karachi and appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take its notice. He denied any contact or alliance with the Punjab government.

He dispelled allegations of acquiring funds and arms from foreign countries and said his party was not an agent of any foreign power and was loyal to Pakistan.

Rao Javed Iqbal said police arrested five to eight workers from each district of Punjab during the crackdown while six activists were nabbed in Bahawalpur district.