Wednesday August 10, 2022

Secret crackdown on Lal Masjid elements

July 18, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The security forces have started a secret crackdown on ‘Lal Masjid elements’ after intelligence operators found these elements in constant contact with the ultra extremist organisation known as the Islamic State or ‘Daesh’ and other banned outfits in Pakistan.

Senior officials engaged with counter-terrorism forces conducting this secret operation said on Sunday that they had arrested 89 ‘Lal Masjid elements’ in various operations in the last two months in the Punjab."These elements are serious threat to state's security and are providing breathing ground for Daesh in the Punjab," a senior official of Ministry of Interior told Geo News, seeking anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter.

Fresh sophisticated crackdown started on recommendations of intelligence agencies which in a confidential communication informed the Ministry of Interior that the ‘Lal Masjid elements’ had developed links with militant groups and reorganised the Ghazi Force militant group.

As part of its new strategy how to counter proscribed organisations, the representatives of counter-terrorism forces claimed that they had killed more than 35 suspected militants in various encounters conducted in last two months by carrying out intelligence based operations in various parts of the Punjab. Majority of them were either affiliated with Lal Masjid or Ghazi Force, interior ministry officials who are familiar with the development told Geo News.

Overall 226 jet black terrorists were killed and 1,200 hardcore militants were arrested since beginning of this year in combing operations conducted by the special counter-terrorism forces in the Punjab, they further revealed. They also carried out secret surveillance of 278 members of Ghazi Force, a banned organisation formed soon after Lal Masjid operation in 2007.

"We have killed six terrorists in Okara. It was an intelligence based operation," revealed a CTD Punjab official. Two suspects -- Yasib Rehman and Hafiz Saeedur Rehman, who were associated with Lal Masjid, were also killed in this encounter in Okara, he revealed.

An official of a premier civilian intelligent agency, who is not allowed to speak to media, said, "we have asked the interior ministry to clean the extreme elements associated either with Ghazi Force or Lal Masjid administration, if it does not do so they can subsequently create a serious trouble for the state."

The counter terrorism forces claimed that they had arrested over 1,100 hardcore militants of Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhanvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Sipah-e-Muhammad and its splinter groups.