LAHORE  -  The Punjab government on Thursday took over the control of headquarters of the banned outfit Jamaatud Dawa in Lahore and Muridke.

Heavy police contingents are deployed around the headquarters of Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat in Lahore and Muridke, respectively. The district government has also appointed its own administrators to run the affair of the religious schools and mosques.

The move comes amid countrywide crackdown on the banned organizations. The crackdown is part of the National Action Plan (NAP) devised by the federal government to quell militancy following the deadliest terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014.

Dozens of activists of the banned outfits including Jaish-e-Mohammad have been arrested from different parts of the country since Tuesday.  An official last night told The Nation that local people would be allowed to enter the mosque only for prayers. “The religious school (Lahore’s Jamia-al-Qadsia) is now under the control of the provincial government,” the official said, requesting his name not be mentioned. He said the police had also taken over the JuD’s mosque and religious school in Muridke.

The official also confirmed that several leaders of the JuD were also arrested during the crackdown in Punjab. “The crackdown is ongoing but we cannot share the number of arrests at this stage,” he said.

He also said that a large number of police personnel had been deployed to guard Jamia-al-Qadsia, the main headquarters of the banned outfit JuD, located near Chauburji roundabout. Presently, hundreds of children are enrolled at the religious schools run by Jamaatud Dawa in Lahore and Muridke.  On early Thursday, the United Nations rejected Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed’s appeal to delist him as a banned terrorist.

It was not clear yet whether or not the government had taken into custody the JuD leaders including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. In January 2017, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and his four close aides were put under house arrest in Lahore. He was freed in November after spending 297 days in detention. Saeed was accused by the United States and India of masterminding Mumbai attacks in 2008.

A police officer when contacted said that police took control of the JuD headquarters on the orders of the provincial government. “We will take further action according to the orders of the government,” he said, when asked about the arrest of the JuD leaders.

The mosques owned by JuD and FIF in Islamabad have already been taken over by police.