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Two sectarian terrorists freed by Punjab government – by Rauf Klasra

The controversial Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, who is notorious for his pro-Taliban tendencies, has facilitated the release of two convicted terrorists of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) at the request of Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

PML-N has now formalized its alliance with the outlawed terrorist organisation, Sipah-e-Sahaba (formally associated with Al Qaeda and Taliban) in the forthcoming by-elections in Jhang. This alliance has been enacted through Rana Sanaullah’s joint public rallies with the central leaders of Sipah-e-Sahaba, in which sectarian slogans (Shia Kafir etc) were openly displayed and chanted.

In the following news item, Rauf Klasra provides details of this story also in the light of Governor Punjab’s formal complaint to the Chief Minister.

Two convicted SSP terrorists freed by Punjab government

Saturday, March 06, 2010
By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: An official letter from Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reveals that the Punjab government released two convicted terrorists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — Talib Qiamat and Siddiqui Jopoo apprehended by an intelligent agency in 1992 — ahead of the by-election in PP-82 (Jhang) to get their support in by-elections. The governor has demanded drastic action against the Law Minister Rana Sanaullah under Anti Terrorism Act-1997.

Governor Taseer warned Shahbaz Sharif that the Punjab could not be seen “encouraging and patronising the anti-state agenda of proclaimed terrorists”. In the three-page letter, Taseer has asked Shahbaz Sharif to take action against Law Minister Rana Sanaullah under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, for his recent public meetings and address to rallies in Jhang accompanied by known terrorists of the banned SSP.

One source said that these two convicted terrorists were released under a deal to get votes of the SSP in Jhang to win the by-election. But the governor’s letter did not give any detail in this regard. Taseer has even accused the Punjab government of not only defying the federal government’s policy on terrorism but putting the peace of the sensitive region like Jhang in jeopardy by joining hands with the banned SSP just for the sake of securing their votes.

Governor Taseer has also asked the chief election commissioner to take action against the law minister for indulging in this kind of activity, which was a direct violation of the code of conduct for the political parties and contesting candidates.

The copies of the letter have been sent to President Zardari, PM Gilani and Minister for Interior Rehman Malik. The governor’s spokesman, Farrukh Shah, confirmed to The News that Taseer has written a letter to the CM Punjab, asking him to take action against his law minister after his recent public meetings in the company of the SSP activists.

He said he was writing to him (CM) to invite his attention to the press reports. He said one of the photographs published in the newspapers showed Sanaullah visiting the PP-82 constituency in the Punjab Police vehicle accompanied by Sipah-e-Sahaba activists ,who were displaying arms in public. He wrote that during his visit, the law minister met the chief of the banned organisation and took him to the election rallies in official vehicles of the Punjab government escorted by the Punjab Police.

“This position, you would agree, not only casts serious doubts about the credentials of the minister but also jeopardises the Punjab government’s declared stand on terrorism. It has sent shockwaves to all the quarters concerned with the present security situation in the country besides starting a heated debate and protest in the National Assembly.”

In the recent session, MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram complained that by taking such steps, the Punjab government was giving a message to the people that full protocol was being extended to the banned organisation and its leaders. Another MNA from PML-N Rasheed Akbar Naiwani also recorded his protest on the activities of the Punjab law minister. The governor pointed out that after the visit of the minister, flags of the banned organisation were appearing all over Jhang and Sargodha with no attempt by the local police to remove them as, ostensibly, they have the blessing of the provincial government. “To see the provincial law minister openly rallying activists of this proscribed organisation for political advantage is a sad message to the people of the province.”

The letter further said, “What is worse is that the minister has publicly admitted his activities with the claim that they have political support and therefore he is justified. Using same perverted logic, politicians can go to Malakand and support the terrorists there. These activities of the minister clearly flout the provisions of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997.”

Quoting from the anti terrorism law 1997, the letter said, the Section 11-F says: “A person is guilty of an offence if he belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation; 2) a person guilty of an offence shall be liable to conviction to a term not exceeding six months of imprisonment; 3) a person commits offence if he solicits or invites support for a proscribed organisation or addresses a meeting which he knows is to support a proscribed organisation, further the activities of a proscribed organisation or to be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to proscribed organisation; 4) a person commits an offence if he addresses a meeting or delivers a sermon to a religious gathering by any means whether verbal, written, electronic, digital or otherwise and the purpose of his address or sermon is to encourage support for a proscribed organisation or to further its activities.”

The governor wrote the unlawful act on the part of the provincial law minister also constituted a blatant violation of the code of conduct for the political parties and contesting candidates which says the political parties shall not propagate any opinion or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan. “I am of the firm opinion that canvassing by Rana Sanaullah with this group has further endangered the already fragile sectarian peace in and around the sensitive district Jhang”.

Source: The News

Rana Sanaullah’s pictures with leader of banned outfit surface
Upadated on: 06 Mar 10 10:13 PM

LAHORE: The pictures of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah with banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba leader Mohammad Ahmed Ludhyanvi have come on screen on Saturday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has got the support of banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba in the by-polls in Jhang.

Rana Sanaullah had visited Jhang few days back and held meeting with banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba leader Mohammad Ahmed Ludhyanvi for getting support for by-polls at PP-82. Later on, Punjab Law Minister had also participated in the gathering of Sipah-e-Sahaba. The people present in the gathering of banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba were openly showing arms and chanting the sectarian based slogans.

Rana Sanaullah have not taken notice of the whole issue.

Later on, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer has demanded Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif to take action against Rana Sanaullah on the basis of the Anti Terrorism Act. SAMAA

Source: Samaa News

Related articles:
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Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba’s attack on Eid Milad-un-Nabi rallies: This is not sectarianism; this is terrorism.

Thanks to PML-N, sectarian violence may revisit Punjab

Rana Sanaullah has ties with sectarian terrorists? Shame on you, PML-N

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • Given the current pro-sectarian and pro-Taliban activities of the PML-N government in Punjab, the international community must force Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to explicitly state their policies on sectarianism and terrorism.

  • US helped ISI create extremists: Petraeus Sunday, March 07, 2010
    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27658

    WASHINGTON: Noting that Pakistan has made significant progress in its fight against extremism that threatens its existence, a top US military general has refused the certificate of “American satisfaction” to Islamabad in its war against terrorism.

    “I wouldn’t allow you to put words in my mouth,” General David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command told Charlie Rose of the PBS in an interview when he asked: “So the bottom line is you are satisfied with the Pakistani effort and the Pakistani cooperation and the Pakistani effort to wipe out the Taliban in Pakistan?”

    Rose posed such a question to Petraeus, when the American general was praising Pakistan for its recent success against the Taliban and arrest of its top leaders inside the country. “What I would say is that Pakistan has made significant progress in its fight against extremists threatening its existence. And there is a growing recognition that the other extremist elements, also in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, have a symbiotic relationship with the tribal areas threatening them, and over time they are dealing with them as well,” Petraeus said.

    “But, again, look, we have a chequered past with Pakistan, and we need to be up front about it and recognise it. We’ve walked away from that country three different times, including after Charlie Wilson’s war after we established the Mujahideen,” he said.

    “Our money, Saudi money, others joined together, helped the ISI, indeed, form these elements which then went in and threw the Soviets out of Afghanistan with our weaponry. And then we left and they were holding the bag,” he said, acknowledging that it was the US which helped ISI to form these extremist elements. General Petraeus, however, acknowledged that the interests of Pakistan and the US differ in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan and the US has the same interest in Afghanistan in not allowing al-Qaeda to re-establish safe havens. “But it also has an interest that is somewhat different than ours, and that is their strategic depth and always has been for a country that’s very narrow and has its historic enemy to its east. So again, we just have to appreciate this.

    “This is not unique, of course, just to Afghanistan and Pakistan and throughout the world. We have interests, they have interests. What we want to do is find the conversion interest, understand where they are divergent and try to make progress together,” Petraeus said.

  • Speaking at the annual exhibition of paintings and graphic arts at Alhamra Art Gallery, the governor said that Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan was “roaming in police vehicles with terrorists sitting by his side”. He said this blossoming of terrorism under the umbrella of the Law Ministry was strange and will lead to a perception among the masses that it was ok to be an extremist.

    The governor quoting the law minister said the PML-N was joining hands with the Sipah-e-Sahaba because it had a massive following and a massive vote bank and its support made perfect political sense. The governor questioned this logic, saying if this was the only criterion to side with a group, than the PLM-N would be forming a coalition with the Taliban in Bajaur and Waziristan because they too enjoy a healthy vote bank in these areas.

    The governor said it was not difficult to understand the agenda of the people who would go this far to pursue their lust for power. He said PML-N’s method of campaigning for upcoming polls was in clear violation of Election Commission rules and the constitution. He said these violations called for serious punitive action.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=227601

  • Jhang fears return of sectarian violence

    Saturday, February 27, 2010
    PML-N sees no harm in seeking banned outfit’s blessing

    By Khalid Hurral & Babar Dogar

    JHANG/LAHORE: A defunct sectarian organisation, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), is rearing its head again and its leader’s participation in an election rally in PP-82 constituency, along with Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, has sent shivers down the spines of citizens here, who have seen sectarian bloodshed for over a decade before it subsided in 2002.

    The city has witnessed inauguration of development projects by the chief of the defunct organisation. One can see SSP’s flags across the city, and all this is going on under the nose of the administration and police.

    In the last general elections, Jhang voters rejected the SSP candidate and, for the first time in two decades, the SSP failed to secure any seat in the district. However, people allege that MPA Sheikh Muhammad Yaqoob, who won from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q platform, switched over to the Pakistan Muslim League-N and started backing the defunct organisation. Yaqoob denies he ever patronised the banned organisation.

    People allege that local authorities, especially police, were turning a blind eye to the resurrecting outfit and show of force by its gun-toting activists.

    Officials deny this charge when they are asked to explain the unchecked display of firearms. Some of the officials, however, do admit that the situation is alarming, but they refuse to say anything on record.

    Their fear is not unfathomable. A few months back when some miscreants, allegedly belonging to the banned party, burnt a train and the government and private offices and property, police launched a crackdown on the law-breakers. However, later, the transfers of the district police chief and the city SHOs put them in a passive mode and they started showing reluctance in continuing the investigation into the cases of arson.

    When they are reminded that the law is being flouted publicly and they are inactive, their response is usually a counter question: “Do you think we are greater protectors of the law than the law minister. Go and put this question to the law minister and the PML-N lawmakers.”

    Sources revealed that the district police have discharged many SSP activists from the Fourth Schedule. Nowadays, the SSP leaders can be seen moving in the city with masked gunmen around. DPO Sultan Ahmed Chaudhry told The News he had sought a report from the police concerned about the SSP’s activities. After getting the report, he added, he would be able to say anything on the issue. He said the police were performing their duties according to the law.

    When asked how come development projects had the names of a proscribed outfit’s chief, District Officer Roads Aslam Khan claimed he never issued any orders to that effect. When contacted, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah admitted that the SSP was a banned organisation and majority of its activists involved in criminal activities had been nabbed by the law-enforcing agencies. He said the organisation still had a huge following, who are not involved in any criminal activity. About Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, he said he was a runner-up in the 2008 general election, and he had grabbed 45,000 votes against the PML-Q’s Sheikh Waqas Akram.

    “If Maulana Ludhianvi was an activist of the banned organisation, why he was allowed to contest the 2008 election?” He alleged that PPP’s Federal Minister Tasneem Qureshi had invited the Maulana to a lunch at his Sargodha residence to seek his support for the PPP candidate in Jhang by-polls. He claimed that some provincial and federal ministers of the PPP had also visited the Jhang residence of Maulana Ludhianvi to seek his support.

    Nevertheless, he said, Maulana Ludhianvi, on his request, had decided to support the PML-N candidate, Azam Chela, and made an announcement in this regard at a public meeting, which was also attended by him (minister).

    The minister said the PML-N had made him the in-charge of the election campaign in Jhang and he was present along with Maulana Ludhianvi at the public meeting. Moreover, he said, Sheikh Waqas Akram was supporting the PPP candidate in the Jhang by-polls and he was behind all this propaganda, to win over the Shia community votes and to neutralise Maulana Ludhianvi’s support for the PML-N candidate.

    He claimed that he was not afraid of the propaganda as he had done nothing illegal or wrong. He further claimed that Federal Ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and all provincial ministers, including Senior Minister Raja Riaz, were striving to win the support for their candidate and indulging in propaganda against him. He stated that Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer had also announced a visit to the constituency.

    The minister’s view that the SSP chief was an electoral candidate raises a serious question: “Isn’t it a dereliction of duty on part of our state apparatus that a defunct outfit’s leaders went through the pre-election scrutiny?”

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27526

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