Two convicted outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) terrorists freed by Punjab government, Governor Punjab
An official letter from Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reveals that the Punjab government released two convicted terrorists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — Talib Qiamat and Siddiqui Jopoo apprehended by an intelligent agency in 1992 — ahead of the by-election in PP-82 (Jhang) to get their support in by-elections. The governor has demanded drastic action against the Law Minister Rana Sanaullah under Anti Terrorism Act-1997.
Governor Taseer warned Shahbaz Sharif that the Punjab could not be seen “encouraging and patronising the anti-state agenda of proclaimed terrorists”. In the three-page letter, Taseer has asked Shahbaz Sharif to take action against Law Minister Rana Sanaullah under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, for his recent public meetings and address to rallies in Jhang accompanied by known terrorists of the banned SSP.
One source said that these two convicted terrorists were released under a deal to get votes of the SSP in Jhang to win the by-election. But the governor’s letter did not give any detail in this regard. Taseer has even accused the Punjab government of not only defying the federal government’s policy on terrorism but putting the peace of the sensitive region like Jhang in jeopardy by joining hands with the banned SSP just for the sake of securing their votes.
Governor Taseer has also asked the chief election commissioner to take action against the law minister for indulging in this kind of activity, which was a direct violation of the code of conduct for the political parties and contesting candidates.
The copies of the letter have been sent to President Zardari, PM Gilani and Minister for Interior Rehman Malik. The governor’s spokesman, Farrukh Shah, confirmed to The News that Taseer has written a letter to the CM Punjab, asking him to take action against his law minister after his recent public meetings in the company of the SSP activists.
He said he was writing to him (CM) to invite his attention to the press reports. He said one of the photographs published in the newspapers showed Sanaullah visiting the PP-82 constituency in the Punjab Police vehicle accompanied by Sipah-e-Sahaba activists, who were displaying arms in public. He wrote that during his visit, the law minister met the chief of the banned organisation and took him to the election rallies in official vehicles of the Punjab government escorted by the Punjab Police.
“This position, you would agree, not only casts serious doubts about the credentials of the minister but also jeopardises the Punjab government’s declared stand on terrorism. It has sent shockwaves to all the quarters concerned with the present security situation in the country besides starting a heated debate and protest in the National Assembly.”
In the recent session, MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram complained that by taking such steps, the Punjab government was giving a message to the people that full protocol was being extended to the banned organisation and its leaders. Another MNA from PML-N Rasheed Akbar Naiwani also recorded his protest on the activities of the Punjab law minister. The governor pointed out that after the visit of the minister, flags of the banned organisation were appearing all over Jhang and Sargodha with no attempt by the local police to remove them as, ostensibly, they have the blessing of the provincial government. “To see the provincial law minister openly rallying activists of this proscribed organisation for political advantage is a sad message to the people of the province.”
The letter further said, “What is worse is that the minister has publicly admitted his activities with the claim that they have political support and therefore he is justified. Using same perverted logic, politicians can go to Malakand and support the terrorists there. These activities of the minister clearly flout the provisions of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997.”
Quoting from the anti terrorism law 1997, the letter said, the Section 11-F says: “A person is guilty of an offence if he belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation; 2) a person guilty of an offence shall be liable to conviction to a term not exceeding six months of imprisonment; 3) a person commits offence if he solicits or invites support for a proscribed organisation or addresses a meeting which he knows is to support a proscribed organisation, further the activities of a proscribed organisation or to be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to proscribed organisation; 4) a person commits an offence if he addresses a meeting or delivers a sermon to a religious gathering by any means whether verbal, written, electronic, digital or otherwise and the purpose of his address or sermon is to encourage support for a proscribed organisation or to further its activities.”
The governor wrote the unlawful act on the part of the provincial law minister also constituted a blatant violation of the code of conduct for the political parties and contesting candidates which says the political parties shall not propagate any opinion or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan. “I am of the firm opinion that canvassing by Rana Sanaullah with this group has further endangered the already fragile sectarian peace in and around the sensitive district Jhang”.