LAHORE: Authorities in Punjab have arrested Abdul Rehman Makki, a senior leader of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the brother-in-law of the outlawed group’s chief, Hafiz Saeed.
According to media, Makki was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order Act and has been shifted to a jail in Lahore.
The JuD leader’s arrest came days after he delivered a speech in Gujranwala criticising the government’s ongoing crackdown against banned outfits in Pakistan.
He had also previously spoken against the operation and was also encouraging people to donate to JuD’s banned charity wing, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FiF).
Makki is the head of JuD’s political and foreign relations departments and is widely seen as the proscribed outfit’s second-in-command. He was designated by the United States in 2010 and consequently targeted by the US Treasury Department.
In 2012, the US state department’s Rewards for Justice programme also announced a $2 million reward for Makki.
His arrest is a continuation of Pakistan’s actions against outlawed groups this year. In February, the National Security Committee reimposed a ban on JuD and FiF.
A few weeks later in March, the government announced the freezing of accounts and seizure of assets linked to organisations banned by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
Within weeks, the government said it had taken control of 182 seminaries and detained more than 100 people as part of its push against proscribed groups.
Properties owned by JuD and FiF were sealed or taken over across Pakistan, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
New prayer leaders and teachers were appointed by the Auqaf department to replace the ones at the mosques and seminaries run by the two banned outfits.
The Punjab government took over control of the JuD and the FIF headquarters in Lahore. It also took administrative control of a madrasa and an adjacent mosque in Bahawalpur believed to be the headquarters of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
The Sindh government announced that it had taken over control of 56 facilities being run by JuD and the FIF. Besides, 44 under-observation members of banned outfits, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the brother and son of JeM leader Masood Azhar respectively — were placed in “preventive detention” for investigation.
Most recently, on May 11, the interior ministry banned 11 organisations under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for their alleged affiliation with proscribed outfits JuD, FiF, and JeM.
A notification issued by the ministry identified the banned organisations as Al Anfal Trust (Lahore), Idara-e-Khidmat Khalaq (Lahore), Al Dawatul Irshad (Lahore), Al Hamd Trust (Lahore and Faisalabad), Al-Fazal Foundation/Trust (Lahore), Mosque and Welfare Trust (Lahore), Al Madinah Foundation (Lahore), Muaz bin Jabal Education Trust (Lahore), Al Eesar Foundation (Lahore), Al Rehmat Trust Organisation (Bahawalpur) and Al Furqan Trust (Karachi).