JUI-F's Ansar-ul-Islam force banned ahead of 'Azadi March'

11:27 PM | 24 Oct, 2019
JUI-F's Ansar-ul-Islam force banned ahead of 'Azadi March'

ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Interior Thursday outlawed Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F's militia force Ansar-ul-Islam, days before Maulana Fazl ur Rehman set to mount a march on Islamabad on October 31.

The ministry has issued a notification after approval was given by the federal cabinet. The government has "reasons to believe that Ansar-ul-Islam is capable of functioning as a military organisation, in violation of the prohibition contained in Article 256 of the Constitution," read the notification.

Through the notification, the federal government has "entrust[ed] the provincial governments the power to take appropriate actions under Section 2 of the Private Military Organisations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1974, against Ansar-ul-Islam".

The Ministry of Interior in the summary sent to federal cabinet earlier this month had said that various reports shared by intelligence agencies revealed that JUI-F chief Fazalur Rehman has established a militant wing, which is uniformed private militia force named as "Ansar-ul-Islam" to provide security to marchers for their 'Azadi March'.

The uniformed force, carrying batons and sticks with wrapped barbed wires under a politico-religious party, apparently aims at challenging the writ of the government.

The rehearsals and march-pasts carried out by the said force during the workers conventions, recently held in Peshawar, pledging allegiance to the top leadership of JUI (F), has stirred fear among the general public and is being seen as a private armed militia combating force to confront the LEAs.

It had further added that it is feared that the said private militant force, reportedly around 80,000 all over Pakistan, may sabotage public peace and create disorder and anarchy across the country during the planned Azadi March and other political activities of JUI (F).