25 February 2018

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07/28/2005 PAKISTAN

In seven days 600 Islamic fundamentalists rounded up

Many of them are thought involved in the growing sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Almost 600 people have been arrested in just one week as part of a crackdown against Islamic militants and hatemongering preachers launched by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, said Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao.

Mr Sherpao explained that the government is enforcing the Anti-Terrorism Law which allows detention of up to a year for anyone suspected of terrorism without formal charges being brought against him.

He said those detained included members of banned militant organisations, clerics accused of delivering "provocative" speeches and fomenting sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites and Islamists accused of publishing or distributing hate material.

Those taken into custody include members of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, three groups that have links with the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.

The crackdown began after British Prime Minister called on Pakistan to do so something about the country's madrassas or Islamic schools. Three of the London bombers had visited Pakistan prior to the July 7 attacks.

Pakistani government sources deny however any link between the ongoing operations and the attacks in the British capital or the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik.

In a televised speech, President Musharraf announced stern actions against hatemongers and closer scrutiny of Islamic extremist groups and religious schools—the latter are suspected of being favourable recruiting and training grounds for Islamic fighters.

Such schools offer free education to about a million boys, especially in the areas and among those who cannot attend public schools. But by December of this year, all 10,000 and more of them will have to be registered with the authorities.

Because many of them are unregistered, they are without any supervision as to funding and curricula.

In response to the crackdown, the administrators of many of these schools have demanded the government "immediately" stop its actions against their institutions.

"We demand that madrassas not be burdened, directly or indirectly, with accusations of terrorism, extremism and of training militants," said a statement released by a madrassa association.

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of six opposition Islamic parties, criticised the government's crackdown, calling it "state terrorism", and accused President Musharraf of being "a puppet of the West".

See also

01/08/2005 PAKISTAN
Islamic parties against expulsion of foreign madrassa students
Opposition is developing to Musharraf's decision to repatriate foreigners studying at Pakistani religious schools.

22/07/2005 PAKISTAN
Pakistan calls for a 'jihad' against Islamic fundamentalism
President Musharraf urges the nation to go on a 'holy war' against the terrorists and justifies cracking down on madrassas. Islamic parties protest on Friday in the name of religious freedom.

29/12/2005 PAKISTAN
Madrassas refuse to expel foreign students

The decision, taken by the president in the wake of the London bomb attacks, should be carried out by the end of December. There may be an extension but the government is determined to push ahead.

23/01/2006 PAKISTAN
Muslim cleric arrested for the murder of a young Catholic

The cleric teaches at a madrassah where two years ago Javed Anjum was tortured to death in order to convert him to Islam. Both the victim's father and the family's lawyers are in danger. Muslim extremists pack the court room during the trial.

16/05/2007 PAKISTAN
Stop Islamic world’s slide into obscurantism, says Musharraf
Pakistan’s president issues warning in opening address to the annual summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. One proposal made is to deploy an Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq. In the meantime Musharraf is facing rising street protests in favour of an independent judiciary and calls for investigation into yesterday’s deadly attack in Peshawar.

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