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Pakistan intensified its crackdown against banned outfits

11 March, 2019

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Pakistan intensified its crackdown against banned outfitsPakistan intensified its crackdown against banned outfits on Thursday, with the government announcing it had taken control of 182 religious schools and detained more than 100 people.

The interior ministry said law enforcement agencies have placed 121 people in ‘preventive detention’ as part of the crackdown that began early this week. “Provincial governments have taken in their control management and administration of 182 religious seminaries (madaris),” the ministry said in a statement. It said institutions from different groups have been taken over, including 34 schools or colleges, 163 dispensaries, 184 ambulances, five hospitals and eight offices of banned organisations. “Interior ministry is working closely with the provinces in crackdown on the banned outfits,” the statement added.

Many banned groups run seminaries, which counter-terrorism officials say are used as recruiting grounds for militant outfits. Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which operates hospitals and a fleet of ambulances, is estimated to run about 300 madaris across the country. JuD called the crackdown unfair and said it would seek to counter the government action in courts. “The whole nation is asking that what message the government wants to send by sealing welfare organisations and kicking students out,” said JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid.

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