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JuD activists protest takeover of headquarters by Pak govt

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
January 27, 2009 14:10 IST
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Hundreds of activists and supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah terror group, linked to the Mumbai attacks, on Tuesday staged a demonstration outside the organisation's headquarters in Muridke to protest its takeover by Pakistani authorities.

Waving the Jamaat's black and white flag and carrying banners, the protestors disrupted traffic for some time on the Grant TrunkĀ Road outside the Markaz-e-Tayiba complex in Murdike, located about 30 km from Lahore.

Tuesday is the second consecutive day that pro-JuD protestors demonstrated against the government crackdown that came after the United Nations Security Counil declared the outfit, a front of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, as a terror group.

The protestors carried banners that read "Restrictions on Jamaat-ud-Dawah because of Indian pressure are not acceptable" and "Free Hafiz Mohammed Saeed", referring to chief of the JuD. Some of the protestors brandished long sticks.

No police personnel were present at the time of the protest or inside the Muridke complex, TV channels reported.

Despite the takeover of the Jamaat headquarters on Sunday by the government of Punjab province, no security personnel had been posted there as yet, reports said.

Students of educational institutions run by the Jamaat at the sprawling Markaz-e-Tayiba complex were also part of the protests. The protestors later went back into the Muridke compound and continued their demonstration inside.

They told reporters that the takeover of the Jamaat complex by the authorities was unethical.

The protestors also said they would not accept an administrator being imposed on them by the government. They dismissed allegations that the Jamaat was linked to the Mumbai terror attacks and said they had the legal right to protest injustices perpetrated against the group.

On Sunday, the Punjab government took over the Muridke complex and appointed an administrator to monitor the activities of charitable and educational institutions run by the Jamaat at its headquarters.

Jamaat and Lashker-e-Tayiba founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and several other top leaders of the Jamaat are currently under house arrest. They have been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order law, though no charges have been brought against them.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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