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Balochistan: Pakistan ban five militant groups

rehman malikQUETTA: Pakistan announced a ban on five militant groups operating in the restive southwest and froze their assets on Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

Violence has surged this year in Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is rife with separatist unrest as well as militancy and sectarian violence.


“Today five of them have been proscribed. They will not be allowed to undertake any activity, their offices will be closed and action will be taken against their office bearers,” Malik told reporters.


“Their bank accounts have also been seized,” said Malik, speaking in Quetta, where a suicide bomber killed 59 people on Friday at a Shia Muslim rally.


The banned groups are the Balochistan Republican Army, Baloch Liberation Front, Balochistan Liberation United Front, Baloch Defaee Tanzeem and Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Malik said.


Malik said any organisation using the terms “liberation”, “military” or “Lashkar” (army) in Balochistan would also face a ban.


The interior minister also announced that the federal government had given Balochistan’s Chief Minister the authority to award police powers to the Frontier Constabulary (FC) to tackle the province’s law and order situation.


Malik said every law enforcement action in the province will be led by the police, adding that this involves targeted action based on intelligence inputs.


He said police and FC will gather the intelligence in this regard and denied saying that there would be a Swat-style operation in the province.—AFP

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