LAHORE   -  Punjab’s counterterrorism department on Friday claimed to have arrested six suspects linked to different banned outfits for collecting donations in the holy month of Ramazan. The arrests were made during CTD raids in Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, and Rawalpindi districts.

Four of the six suspects are identified as members of banned outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad while two others belong to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The CTD police also registered cases against the arrested suspects on the charges of terror financing.

A CTD spokesman said the counterterrorism department launched province-wide crackdown against those involved in terror financing or collecting donations on behalf of banned organisations.

“No member of any proscribed organisation will be allowed to collect funds for financing terrorism and extremism,” the spokesman warned. He said the suspects would be tried in anti-terrorism courts.

The arrested suspects were named by CTD as Muhammad Zahid, Irfan Ahmad, Zafar Iqbal, Hanzala, Hamza, and Ijaz Ahmad. Further investigations were underway.  Divulging details about arrests in a press conference at DGPR Office on Friday, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Sumsam Bukhari said that operation against banned outfits started on March 4 in which the Punjab government remained ahead of other provinces. During the operation in a few weeks, those affiliated with banned outfits and outfits blacklisted by the United Nations, their accounts and assets, mosques, seminaries, schools, hospitals and dispensaries will be taken into official custody.

All the assets of banned outfits whose number is 581 will be taken into official custody and administrators have also been appointed and their control has been handed over to Health Department and Education Department. Provincial Minister said that all those working in these departments are given regular salaries. Besides all printing presses are strictly monitored so that no material can be published regarding banned outfits. The minister also warned that if any printing press is found involved in illegal pursuits then strict action will be taken against it. Punjab government will monitor the activities of all the elements of banned outfits and is fully activated for their prevention.

Sumsam Bukhari told media persons that according to recent information; few elements are collecting funds for banned outfits in different areas. CTD has arrested all those elements by conducting raids.

Provincial Minister has urged the general public to give timely information against those elements who collect funds so that action can be undertaken against them. He said that operation against banned outfits under National Action Plan will continue till the completion of said targets.  He said that Punjab government is ready to implement federal government’s orders across the province all the time without any hesitation.