Police arrest brother of Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed

Abdul Rehman Makki, the brother-in-law of militant leader Hafiz Saeed, seen in a screen grab from a YouTube video taken on May 15, 2019. (Youtube)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Police arrest brother of Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed

  • Abdul Rehman Makki taken into custody over hate speech and for criticizing government crackdown against militant groups
  • Move is part of new push against militant groups launched in February

ISLAMABAD: The brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) charity, was arrested on Wednesday over hate speech and for criticizing steps taken by the Pakistan government to crackdown on militant groups and affiliated charities, local media reported.

Abdul Rehman Makki was arrested on Wednesday under the Maintenance of Public Order Act as part of a renewed clampdown by the government against banned groups, local media said quoting interior ministry sources.

Makki is the head of JuD's political and international affairs wing and in-charge of the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) charity. In February, Pakistan had banned both JuD and FIF over their links with Saeed, the alleged founder of the Lashkar e Taiba militant group that India blames for an attack in its financial hub of Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed.

The US government has also previously offered a $2 million award for information leading to the location of Makki, whom it says was the second in command of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan is facing pressure from global powers to act against groups accused of carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir. This month, a UN Security Council committee blacklisted the head of the JeM, Masood Azhar, subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze.

In March, Pakistan began a major crackdown on Islamist militant groups, announcing it had taken control of 182 religious schools and detained more than 100 people. Last week, the government banned 11 more charities linked with JuD, FIF and JeM.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and in 2012 offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest.


In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

Updated 27 May 2019
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In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

PESHAWAR: Located next to iconic landmarks like the Provincial Assembly and the High Court, the central prison in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar is a handsome old building bursting at the seams with over 1,800 prisoners. 38 of them are women.

The existing building was established in 1854 with an occupancy limit of 425 prisoners, but with the influx of thousands of inmates, a new block is now under construction and slated for completion by the end of the year. 

Inside the prison kitchens, convicted prisoners make round traditional bread and prepare Iftar meals for other inmates. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The prison department provides basic facilities and food to inmates still under trial and to those convicted in the male, female and juvenile sections. During the month of Ramadan, these facilities extend to include special meals at Iftar, like sweet rice, chicken and potatoes served with a side of milky hot tea. 

A female inmate cooks chicken gravy for herself and other prisoners in the prison barracks before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“We get good food in this month (of Ramadan) and are free to offer our prayers and recite the Holy Quran at any time,” said Shahida, an inmate who has been in the prison for five years but was convicted for murder late last year. 

Acting superintendent of the prison releases prisoners after the court orders arrive. The inmates receive the good news right before Iftar time in Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The large hall of the women’s section has a scattering of beds, but most inmates sleep, eat and pray on quilts spread out on the floor. 

A police officer stands guard outside the entrance to the women’s section in Peshawar’s central jail. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

"Some of the women get sick often,” said Iffat Shaheen, assistant superintendent of the women’s prison section. “Right now we have two pregnancy cases and one case of HIV AIDS, so we try to give them good meals. A few prisoners have small children inside prison with them and they get milk as well.” 

A female inmate gives English lessons to some of the children at the Peshawar central prison. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

Another female inmate convicted for possession of drugs has been in prison for seven months. She declined to be identified but said they had a lot of free time in Ramadan that could be put to good use. 

Women in Peshawar’s central prison spend their days reading the Quran and reciting prayer beads during the month of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“This is a helpful time for us to learn skills like handicrafts and sewing,” she said. “When we leave prison, perhaps these things will pave the way for a good, halal living.” 

A woman inmate at Peshawar’s central jail has decorated her hands with henna in anticipation of the holy festival of Eid, which will mark the end of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Rooh Afza, a popular indigenous drink made from herbs and flowers, is served around Peshawar’s central prison by the bucketfuls before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Weekly menu written out for prisoners at Peshawar’s central jail in Urdu. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)