LAHORE - Recruiters of banned outfits in some private and public universities in the Punjab have been identified and efforts are on to bust the entire chain of the recruiters for extremist elements, security agencies’ sources told The Nation yesterday.

Counter-terrorism operations in private and public universities have been on for quite some time to identify recruiters and sleeper cells of the banned outfits . Eight universities of the Punjab in private and public sector are on the watch list of the security agencies for this purpose.

According to the sources of the security agencies, they have found some clues concerning nexus among faculty members of some private and public universities in the province to recruit students for the banned organizations.

The secret services have so far blown two important sleeper cells of the proscribed organizations in educational institutions of the Punjab. The first cell of two faculty members linked with banned Hizbut Tahrir was busted in the University of the Punjab. The second cell was hunted down with another faculty member from LUMS, who is also allegedly connected with Hizb, according to the initial findings of the interrogators of the three university teachers.

All the three were working to subvert the minds of the young to follow their extremist ideology in a bid to create anarchy in the state, which they called revolution. Subversive materials have been found on the laptops of the teachers, besides contacts with banned outfits through twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, they added.

The initial findings pointed towards the strong possibilities of young recruits as inside facilitators of the terrorists for providing them with the information to take over the educational institutions, said the security agencies’ sources.

When asked Hizb had no record of militancy, they said the banned outfit had contacts with certain militant groups and it could assist them in further destabilising the state.

The two teachers of the Punjab University were picked up by the security services in December last year from the varsity premises. The teacher from LUMS was whisked away by the security agencies on January 19 a few yards away from the university when he left the campus.

The Interior Ministry contacts confirmed some information, but declined to share the entire picture because of the sensitivity of the matter.

As part of the National Action Plan (NAP), the security agencies are also monitoring the public and private educational institutions, besides the religious seminaries to neutralise subversion in the name of religion and liberal debates.

The 20-point NAP carries two key items of countering hate speech and extremist material and ban on glorification of terrorism and terrorist organisations by an individual or group through any means.

Three private and two public sector universities in Lahore and one each public sector university in Multan, Bahawalpur and Sargodha fall into the list of varsities under watch. The earlier findings of key intelligence agencies regarding counter-subversion operations in educational institutions said Hizbut Tahrir had emerged as the key organisation involved in subversive activities while there were elements with Al-Qaeda and TTP outfits ideology leanings.