LAHORE - Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Amin Wains has directed the police to launch a special crackdown in the metropolis to hunt down hardliner clerics who are in hiding since long.

Police and other law enforcement agencies have no information about the whereabouts of hundreds of clerics of different school of thoughts who are put under the Fourth Schedule in the Punjab province.

The Fourth Schedule is a section of the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) under which someone suspected of involvement in terrorism is kept under observation; it is mandatory for him to register his attendance with the local police regularly.

Accompanied by DIG Operations Haider Ashraf, the CCPO ordered the clampdown on hardliners while addressing a conference held at the police headquarters yesterday. The meeting was called in to review security arrangements for the forthcoming month of Muharram. All the field police officers were also present on the occasion.

Police sources revealed that the crackdown is part of the police plan to tighten its screws on hardliner clerics and members of banned outfits before the start of Muharram.

According to a police spokesperson, search and security operations against suspected elements are already underway across the provincial metropolis. The field police officers are directed to keep a vigilant eye on the activities of the miscreants in their respective jurisdiction.

Muhammad Amin Wains reiterated that there would be zero-tolerance against the elements found involved in stoking sectarianism. The police chief said that the controversial speakers, firebrand clerics, and those who are banned by the government would not be allowed to create disturbance.

The officer said that the police would ensure video recordings of Majalis and processions while snipers would be deployed on the rooftop of multi-storey buildings in the sensitive and most sensitive areas.

The CCPO also appealed to the religious scholars and clerics to extend full cooperation to the policemen to ensure peace in the holy month. The divisional SPs are directed to visit the Imambargahs located in their jurisdiction to share security strategy with the organisers of Majalis and mourning processions.

DIG Operations Haider Ashraf gave a detailed briefing to the participants about the security plan devised for the month of Muharram. He said that at least 15,000 policemen would be deployed in Lahore to provide security cover to the mourners.

According to the DIG, the police have made all logistics arrangements to use metal detectors and walkthrough gates for security checking. The officers are asked to collect the lists of volunteers from the administration of Imambargahs so they could be given police training before deployment.

The city police chief directed the officers to seriously consider the proposals sent by the administration of Imambargahs while finalising the security plan for Muharram.