ISLAMABAD - Just almost four weeks before July 25 election, the federal government on the request of the Punjab Home Department has removed the name of Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, the chief of banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) from the Fourth Schedule — a watch list.

With the exclusion of his name from the Fourth Schedule of the federal government, he would also be able to operate all of his bank accounts.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) on the recommendations of the Punjab Home Department has issued a formal notification for exclusion of Ludhianvi’s name from watch list and also asked the State Bank of Pakistan to unfreeze all of his accounts.

Ludhianvi is the chief of ASWJ, a banned sectarian group, which was formed after the proscription of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. He became the head of ASWJ after the death of Ali Sher Haidri in 2009.

Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and his offshoot, Lashker-e-Jhangvi (leJ) have been involved for creating violence against Shia Muslims. The ASWJ had also been banned on similar charges.

Ludhianvi is contesting election from NA-115 (Jhang) as an independent leader. A leader of ASWJ on the condition of anonymity said that Punjab government had already decided to remove the name of Ludhianvi from the watch list but a formal notification was yet to be issued.

As Ludhianvi is contesting election, thus he had requested the government for issuance of a formal notification.

The sources in ASWJ also confirmed that Ludhianvi is also facing threats from LeJ as the latter had alleged him for not following the true ideology of the group for which it was formed.

The Fourth Schedule is a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 under which someone who is suspected of terrorism or anti-state activities or activists of militant outfits are kept under observation.

The federal government orders to freeze bank accounts if such persons and their national identity cards as well as passports are also suspended.

Ludhianvi in the past also contested elections and was declared winner from former NA-89 Jhang after his opponent Sheikh Mohammad Akram was disqualified by an election tribunal in the aftermath of 2013 elections. The Supreme Court had later overturned the order.