02/03/2016, 13.31
PAKISTAN

Pakistan shut down 182 madrassas since Peshawar massacre

Pakistani authorities are pursuing a broad strategy to counter Islamic terrorism, detaining thousands of people, seizing hate speech material, freezing bank accounts, and closing religious seminaries. Law enforcement agencies have also gone after extremist groups’ money and the media tools they use to spread radical ideas.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani authorities have shut down 182 madrassas (Islamic seminaries) since the deadly Peshawar school attack in 2014 that killed 134 children and 9 adults.

Part of the strategy includes choking terror financing. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has so far frozen Rs 1 billion (US.5 million) in 126 accounts linked to banned militant groups. Law enforcement agencies have also recovered around Rs 251 million (US$ 2.4 million) in cash.

The government has placed the names of 8,195 people in the fourth schedule* and 188 on the Exit Control List** whilst the movement of 2,052 hard-core militants has been restricted.

The madrassas that were closed are located in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (whose capital is Peshawar) because of their involvement in promoting extremism and other suspicious activities, the government-operated Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) news agency reported.

The action was taken under the National Action Plan (NAP) put in place after militants affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan carried out the massacre at an Peshawar army school in December 2014.

The government has also registered 1,026 cases and arrested 230 terror suspects. Sixty-four organisations were banned whilst the United Nations outlawed 74 groups.

The activities of some organisations are also constantly monitored and their activists have been placed “under surveillance”.

Finally, with regard to hate speech, the Pakistani government seized 1,500 books and other hate material, and sealed 73 shops.

Law-enforcement agencies have also registered 2,337 cases of hate speech and material and arrested 2,195 people.

* The fourth schedule restricts the movement of a person placed on the list from the place of his permanent residence without seeking prior permission from police.

** The Exit Control List is a system of border control under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance. Anyone on the list is banned from leaving Pakistan.

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