Press Trust of india

Keep banned groups in check during Ramazan:Pak interior ministry to provinces

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Islamabad, May 5 :  Pakistan’s interior ministry has asked the provincial governments to ensure that the ban on outlawed groups, including Jaish-e-Muhammed, LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, from collecting donations was strictly enforced during the month of Ramazan, a media report said Sunday.

The ministry issued instructions to the provinces on Saturday to keep banned and under-observation organisations under strict surveillance, the Express Tribune reported.

The provincial governments have started monitoring these outfits, it said.

Citing sources, the paper said that the ministry directed the provincial governments to ensure that the ban on outlawed outfits from collecting Zakat, alms or donations was strictly enforced during the month of Ramazan.

The provincial governments have been instructed to inform the public that under the Anti-terrorism Act 1997 and UN Security Council Act 1948, banned organisations could not be provided with any support or financial assistance as it was a crime punishable by imprisonment between five and 10 years and fine, the paper said.

According to reports, people in Pakistan donate up to USD 4.5 billion annually, mostly in the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, to help the poor and needy in the name of charity.

The government often claims that it is cracking down on banned groups, but many continue to raise money and collect Zakat or donations.

Last year, the authorities announced a programme to prevent banned militant groups from getting hands on billions of rupees in public donations and charities.

The dozens of banned groups include Jaish-e-Muhammad, Laskhar-e-Taiba, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and Pak-Turk international CAJ Education Foundation.

According to the ministry, the government has taken 589 madrassas, schools, dispensaries, hospitals and ambulances belonging to banned groups into its custody.

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