Bowing to rising diplomatic pressure from India and the intense global pressure to rein in terror groups, Pakistan government on Friday took over the administrative control of the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the terror outfit which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack that killed over 44 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.
The move came a day after the UN Security Council comprising 15 nations, including Pakistan’s key ally China, named JeM in a statement condemning in the “strongest terms” the “heinous and cowardly” terror attack executed by Pakistan-based JeM in Pulwama and stressed on the need to hold organisers and financiers of such “reprehensible acts” accountable and bring them to justice.
India has been asking to get JeM chief Masood Azhar declared a designated ‘global terrorist’ at the United Nations (UN), a bid that has been consistently blocked by China.
“The Government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur,” a spokesman of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said.
The spokesman further said the action was taken in line with the decision of the National Security Committee chaired by Imran Khan on Thursday.
The Islamic seminaries in the campus have a faculty of 70 teachers and currently, 600 students were studying in it, the statement said, adding that Punjab police is providing security and protection to the campus.
Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan had banned 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its front Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).
This decision was also taken during the NSC meeting, a spokesman had said.
However, it remains to be seen how effective the latest ban would be on the two terror groups, which have the tacit backing of Pakistan’s political leaders and the security agencies.
Earlier, the two terror outfits were kept on the watch-list of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry.
The JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba or LeT, which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the United States, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice.
Imran Khan had on Thursday, while disclaiming responsibility, offered to punish anyone who was found using its territory. He also mentioned about accelerating measures to root out terrorism and extreme.
“We need to move to ensure that militancy and extremism are rooted from the society and the State never becomes hostage to extremists,” Khan said as he directed both the interior ministry and the security institutions to immediately accelerate actions on the ground.
After the Pulwama attack, New Delhi reached out to the international community, most of which condemned the terror strike, to isolate Pakistan and to highlight the role of the neighbouring country in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
(With agency inputs)