Friday, August 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak seals offices of militant groups

Karachi, August 23
In what is becoming a major government assault on militant groups in Pakistan, the police sealed their headquarters before daybreak today, confiscating weapons and “offensive” literature.

The police said it sealed 24 offices of militant groups operating in Kashmir.

The police also arrested several leaders of sectarian groups blamed for the relentless religiously motivated attacks that have left hundreds of persons dead in Pakistan.

The crackdown, which began yesterday, follows a promise from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to stop sectarian killings and enforce orders to Islamic militant outfits to stop public fund-raising and public displays of militancy.

The military government has banned two sectarian organisations, but has not so far ordered any of the guerrilla organisations outlawed.

However, it did arrest more than  200 of their fighters in raids yesterday. The police said many of those arrested have since been released with a warning to follow the new orders and end their public fund-raisings.

There also have been reports of arrests in eastern Punjab province, where several of the sectarian groups have headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani police today raided a string of mosques and seminaries here in search of illegal weapons amid a crackdown on religious extremists and militant groups.

“We have raided 10 seminaries and recovered some weapons, including pistols and a rifle. We have also arrested around 25 members of two main sectarian groups,” senior police officer Tariq Jamil said.

He said Sunni extremist group Sipah-i-Sahaba deputy provincial chief Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem was among those arrested, along with members of Shiite party Tehreek-i-Jafria. AP, AFP


B.K. Agnihotri Adviser to Embassy in USA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
US-based Non-Resident Indian Bhishma Kumar Agnihotri was today appointed as Adviser in the Indian Embassy in Washington.

Mr Agnihotri, who has been given a rank of Ambassador as Ambassador-at-large for NRIs and persons of the Indian origin, is expected to take up his assignment shortly, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs Nirupama Rao said here.

Mr Agnihotri who is Hoshiarpur-born is expected to visit India from August 28 for consultations with the government and the political establishment here.

Mr Agnihotri’s exact status has not yet been decided but he will not be above Indian Ambassador in the USA, Mr Lalit Mansingh.Back

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