Pakistan bars militant groups from collecting hides on EidDecember 10th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Dec 10 (IANS) Pakistan has barred militant organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) from collecting hides of animals sacrificed on Eid and which are donated to religious educational institutions and other social welfare organizations, even as the crackdown against the organisations continue.Some 25 million animals are sacrificed on the three days of Eid that started on Tuesday and various charitable organisations had hitherto been collecting and distributing the hides, with the LeT and the JeM of late also jumping into the fray.
People also donate the hides to social welfare organizations run by individuals like cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, and pop singers Ibaraul Haq and Shahzad Roy.
“This year no militant organization like Jaish or LeT have been allowed to collect hides… at least three LeT vehicles in Karachi and two in Lahore were nabbed by security agencies for collecting hides,” an official of the interior ministry told IANS.
He said that Jaish chief Masood Azhar is under house arrest and was not allowed to leave his house-cum-office in Bahawalpur, from where he started his organization after his release from India in 1999 in exchange for the passengers of an Indian Airlines plane that was hijacked on a flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi and taken to Kandahar.
The official said that the operations against the LeT that began Sunday and saw the arrest of its commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhwi, was being undertaken at Islamabad’s own initiative against the outlawed outfit.
“Yes, we have arrested some people but none of them is wanted by India or is involved in the Mumbai attacks,” the official said, adding the raids on outlawed organizations was a routine matter to curb their activities.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reiterated that Pakistan will not hand over any of its citizens to India and has not received any evidence about their involvement or the use of its soil for the Mumbai attacks that killed 179 people and injured nearly 250.
Talking to media persons in his hometown Multan, Qureshi said there was no question of handing over any citizen to India. He said Pakistan will take action if evidence is provided about the involvement of any of its citizens or the use of Pakistani soil for staging the Mumbai attacks.
Maintaining that Pakistan had its own laws, courts and law enforcing agencies, the minister said: “I assure that anyone found having links with any terrorist activities will be dealt with under the law.
“We want India to provide us evidence as we would like to reach a conclusion… we don’t want and can’t allow anyone to use our territory (for launching terror attacks)… but that is possible only if we are provided evidence,” Qureshi added.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has welcomed the measures Pakistan has taken against extremists operating in the country.
“I believe they have begun to do the right things,” she told the media in Washington Tuesday.
“We are still gathering reports, we are not yet able to confirm a lot of what we are reading about arrests and about action against the camps, but these are serious steps and we are pleased at what appears to be a serious set of steps,” Rice added.