Saturday, December 13, 2008

Govt crackdown against Dawa continues: Tension prevails in city; security beefed up

The government crack down against Jamaatud Dawa continues as the organization alleges that more than 100 party workers have been arrested while 35 offices have been sealed. Meanwhile, denying the allegation, the government claims that only 11 people have been arrested.

“The operation is being conducted by the police on the directives of the federal interior ministry,” Sindh Special Secretary Collin Kamran Dost told. “We have arrested 11 men belonging to Dawa across the province and sealed six offices as well as six seminaries,” Dost explained. “Seven of the men are from Karachi while two of the seminaries closed are also here.” Responding to a question, Dost further said that while he cannot comment on the duration of the operation as it depends on the directives of the federal government. There have been unconfirmed reports that the men belonging to Dawa have been shifted to Punjab, the special secretary did not confirm this report. Criticizing the government, Dawa has strictly condemned the ongoing operation.

Dawa Information Nazim Mujahid Nadeem said, “All across Sindh, 35 main offices have been sealed while 100 activists have been arrested. 40 are from Karachi while the others hail from Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Sukkhar, Mirpurkhas and other towns in the province,” said Nadeem. Despite sealing of the main offices, the sub-offices set up across Sindh have not been closed forcefully.

Nadeem further said that there have been unconfirmed reports that some of the seminaries, dispensaries, blood banks and schools run by Dawa have been sealed but he still did not have accurate information. “During the raids, the law enforcement personnel tortured the men and misbehaved with the families,” he said and added the government operation against Dawa has created panic and fear among the workers across the country. “The men have gone into hiding and are not communicating with each other,” Nadeem explained. “Some have been arrested, some switched their mobile phones off while others have changed their numbers,” Nadeem said. The current operation has had an impact on the ongoing welfare work and the funding process. “Currently Dawa is engaged in relief work of the Ziarat earthquake victims where at least 4.5 million displaced families are being helped by us,” he added.

Nadeem believed that Yahya Mujahid, a prominent leader of Dawa has been detained. Meanwhile, there are reports that a monitoring cell has been set up for Dawa and a list of 122 men belonging to Dawa from all over Sindh has been given to the home department. However, Dost denied the claim.

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