Pakistan to declare Qaeda a terrorist group
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: The government of Pakistan is contemplating to officially declare Al Qaeda a terrorist organization, a move that hints at starting countrywide crackdowns on the elements covertly sympathizing with the outfit, sources told Daily Times on Thursday.
Sources said the government was under tremendous pressure from the US government and was being continuously advised to deal harshly with those who sympathize, support or harbour the Qaeda elements. The reason behind such a move was legal because under the existing laws of Pakistan no one could be prosecuted for his involvement in the activities of any organization until that was branded terrorist officially, sources added.
“It is necessary to have legal footings of any action against people who are tipped supporting families of Arabs suspected of associations with Qaeda,” sources said. The Supreme Court of Pakistan while hearing a government appeal against the release of some citizens accused of having links with Qaeda ruled that the government could not treat Qaeda a terrorist body. The government had contended that as Pakistan was a signatory of the United Nations (UN) charter, it was sufficient for Pakistan to regard Qaeda a terrorist organization. Sources said the Supreme Court ruling that no organization could be treated as a terrorist body until government had declared it so through proper notification ignited the government to take the move.