A total of 390 suspects have been detained in Pakistan on the charge of having links with banned militant groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad and Sipah-e-Sahaba are likely to be released soon by the authorities, according to a media report today. Officials of the Home and Prisons Departments of Punjab province and the local police force were quoted by the newspapers as saying that a "gradual" release of the detainees might take place in the next few days
. This is being done as not a single case had been registered against any of them, the officials said. An intelligence agency has submitted a report to the federal government which has described the situation as alarming. The report states that a fierce backlash is possible as a result of this.
According to official figures, 390 activists belonging to banned groups like Sipah-e-Sabaha, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Al-Ansar Trust,Jamatul Furqan and some other blacklisted groups working with new names had been detained during a recent crackdown.
At least 42 suspects were detained in Jhang District Jail, 40 in Multan Central Jail, 22 in Bahawalpur Jail, seven in Sahiwal Jail and four in Mianwali Jail while the rest of the accused were being held in different jails across southern Punjab.
Punjab Home Secretary Nadeem Hassan Asif said all the suspects were detained for 30 to 90 days but none of them were formally arrested. So, the release of these detainees could not be ruled out if FIR's were not registered against them or alternately, if their detention period was not extended, he said. Inspector General of Prisons Kokab Nadeem Warraich too said no case had been registered against any of the suspects.