LAHORE: In the wake of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park suicide attack, the government has decided to arrest all individuals included in the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The decision was taken at a meeting on law and order presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here on Monday.
The prime minister expressed anger at Punjab’s security officials for ignoring an alert issued by an intelligence agency about presence in the province of four to five suicide bombers looking for a soft target.
He also expressed dismay over the leniency shown towards miscreants in Islamabad and asked Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who was present in the meeting, to personally look into the matter.
A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister had ordered an immediate action against the history-sheeters included in the Fourth Schedule and said the action must not wait for a Rangers-police combined operation strategy and all law-enforcement agencies could act on their own to avert chances of criminals slipping away.
The Fourth Schedule comprises the elements found to be or suspected to be involved in anti-state activities, delivering hate speeches and/or activists of religious outfits not yet banned but related with militancy in any way.
At least 2,000 criminals are at present included in the list, the official said, adding that the action had been started across Punjab, particularly in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan.
The prime minister got infuriated at the Punjab home secretary when a joint director general of the Intelligence Bureau told him that the agency had issued a terror alert well in time.
Secretary Azam Sultan claimed in the meeting that his department had issued a circular containing the alert, but law-enforcement agencies overlooked it.
The meeting was told that the wife of a terrorist killed in an encounter months ago was now apparently operating the deadly network of a banned outfit. It was also informed that the suspected bomber, whose skull was found at the crime scene, had been working for a banned outfit and also recruited some youths for it.
The prime minister expressed displeasure over the entry of the miscreants into Islamabad’s Red Zone without any hindrance.
He was informed that organisers of the chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri had given an assurance that they would not cross a certain limit and that’s why Punjab police were ill-prepared to tackle the protesters.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2016