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Monday July 22, 2024

Ban imposed on 34 clerics under 5 MPO

Decision based on reports from law-enforcement agencies will see district and language-specific restrictions applied to the clerics

By Sher Ali Khalti
June 25, 2024
Muharram 9 procession passing through M.A. Jinnah Road in Karachi on July 28, 2023. — APP
Muharram 9 procession passing through M.A. Jinnah Road in Karachi on July 28, 2023. — APP

LAHORE: In a significant move aimed at maintaining public order, the Punjab Home Department has decided to impose a ban on 34 clerics under 5 MPO for 60 days, effective from the 1st of Muharram.

According to sources, the ban covers clerics of various categories. The decision based on reports from law-enforcement agencies will see district and language-specific restrictions applied to the clerics. Among those affected, 12 are Barelvi, two Ahl-e-Hadith, eight Deobandi and 14 Shiite. The move comes in response to intelligence and police reports highlighting potential risks to public safety and order. Deputy commissioners are set to issue formal banning orders in this regard.

This action reflects the government’s ongoing efforts to ensure peace, particularly during sensitive periods. The ban aims to curb any speeches or activities that can incite unrest or disturb the communal harmony during the upcoming Muharram observances.

Talking to The News, Maham Asif Malik, deputy secretary, Internal Security of the Punjab Home Department, said: “There is no space for hate-mongers who spread venomous propaganda. Such hate-mongers will be placed on the list of Fourth Schedule.” She explained that Fourth Schedule was a list of proscribed individuals suspected of terrorism or sectarianism under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 1997. After credible intelligence information, their names are included in Fourth Schedule as prescribed by the Home Department and can be subjected to restrictions on travel, speech and business.

She said the assets of these individuals had been frozen under the law, and their national identity cards and bank accounts had also been blocked. Additionally, their names have been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) by the Interior Ministry. She shared that if a Fourth Scheduler wanted to get relief for the butter and bread of his family, he would have to submit an application to the special secretary of the Home Department.

After approval and consultation with the deputy commissioner concerned, a Fourth Scheduler will be allowed to withdraw a specific amount of money. According to the law, a Fourth Scheduler cannot go to airports, railway stations, colleges and other public places.

When asked whether a Fourth Scheduler can teach at a seminary, she replied: “We cannot snatch his all rights. He can teach at a seminary and withdraw money to support his family.”