No militancy in Punjab seminaries: Rana Sanaullah

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah said on Tuesday that “not a single madressah (seminary) in Pakistan's most populous province was reported to have any links with militancy.”

Addressing a press conference at Punjab Assembly Cafeteria on Tuesday, Sanaullah said “geo-tagging of 13,787 seminaries had been completed” where about a million students were acquiring religious education.

The provincial law minister and Pakistan Muslim League – N stalwart went on to say that law enforcement agencies had completed search operations in hostels and universities, following a “zero tolerance policy against terrorism.”

The announcement by the senior provincial minister comes just a day after Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali in a press conference conceded that the government needed to expedite efforts as far as cleansing seminaries was concerned – identifying it as one of the areas in the National Action Plan requiring further attention.

But Nisar had gone on to say “not all seminaries were breeding grounds for terrorism,” adding that most seminaries in the country were “patriotic and had been targets themselves.”

While laying out an elaborate progress report on the National Action Plan (NAP), Nisar had said terrorism in the country came down by 70 per cent and that fighting and cracking down religious, sectarian terrorist outfits would be a top priority in the next few months, with special focus on targeting those who “glorify terrorists.”

In his report to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior minister highlighted the fact that for the first time, a uniform and clear list of banned organizations had been prepared. This would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to identify such proscribed organisations and battle their criminal activities.

Sanaullah said foolproof security measures have been adopted for the Punjab Assembly session that will begin Wednesday, following militant threats of an attack on the PA building.

He added that security agencies had been directed to ensure “zero tolerance” while companions or staff of MPAs and journalists would not be allowed to enter the Punjab Assembly building during the session.

Shedding light on the assembly session, the law minister said almost 51 resolutions, 21 call-attention notices, amendments in the Women Protection Bill and the Local Government Act would be presented which would continue for about two weeks.

Talking about the recent attack on home minister Shuja Khanzada in Punjab's Attock district, Sanaullah said:

“There was a specific threat to Col. (retd) Shuja Khanzada by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while the incident had occurred due to a security lapse and an inquiry committee later made a breakthrough in this regard.”

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