ISLAMABAD: Fear and panic gripped the area when a group of local Taliban belonging to Lal Masjid raided a video cassettes shop in Bhara Kahu, an Islamabad area, and burnt CDs and video cassettes on Saturday evening.
The Bhara Kahu police, on the complaint of the locals, have arrested three Taliban from the scene and registered an FIR under the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA), while more than 10 Taliban managed to escape.
A witness told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that a group of Taliban, carrying batons, reached Nai Abadi of Bhara Kahu in a Toyota pickup bearing registration number Peshawar 3868. “Jamia Faridia and Jamia Hafsa was written in bold letters on the vehicle,” the witness added.
The Taliban entered Al-Awan video shop and threw CDs and video cassettes out of the shop. Later, they chanted slogans in favour of Islamisation and against the rulers and set the stuff on fire, he said.
He said he informed Rescue-15 and the area police at the request of the scared people of the vicinity.
The area police rushed to the scene and arrested three Taliban identified as Zainullah, son of Sher Zaman, Mehrab Hussain, son of Rehmat Hussain, and Muhammad Idrees, son of Muhammad Gul, while others, including the driver of the vehicle, fled the scene.
The police have registered the case against the accused under the 7 ATA and started investigation.
A police officer, investigating the case, when asked by The News, said the owners of the video shop, Arif Mehmood, Ali Imran and Muhammad Akmal, refused to record any statement against the Taliban, saying they were not in a position to say anything against them.
Meanwhile, the arrested students of Lal Masjid claimed in their statements that they convinced the owners of the video shop to change their business. They said they have burnt the CDs and video cassettes with the consent of the owners.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Chaudhry Muhammad Ali told this scribe: “The businessmen and people would be protected at all costs.” He said nobody would be allowed to challenge the writ of the government, and would be dealt with iron hands.
Meanwhile, law-enforcement agencies have been put on high alert to counter any reaction from the students of the seminaries.
APP adds: A press note issued by the District Magistrate Islamabad Capital Territory Islamabad said: “Today (Saturday) on 14-04-2007 at about 6.20pm some miscreants reached Al-Awan Video Centre at Bhara Kahu Bazaar and along with a local shopkeeper burnt CDs and cassettes.
However, this time around, the administration and local police were on alert. Consequently when the police was informed they immediately reached the scene along with assistant commissioner (rural). The car being used by the miscreants bearing number NWFP J-3868 was intercepted and stopped.
Out of the eight reported persons involved in this incident, five escaped. However, three miscreants namely Muhammad Idrees r/o Charsada, Zainulah r/o Mardan and Mehrab Hussian r/o Chitral along with the Arif shopkeeper who was found in collusion were arrested and booked under sections of ATA.
Investigation is under way and exact roles and involvement are being ascertained. The vehicle being used by the accused was also taken into custody by the police.
All markets are being patrolled by the police and it is being ensured that any elements who try to disrupt the normal course of business will be dealt firmly.
Burning of CDs and videos by creating law and order situation tantamounts to breach of law and creates panic amongst the citizens, said the press note.
“It is on this account that ICT police has undertaken elaborate arrangements to curb the same. In future also strict action shall be taken against the perpetrators,” the note reads.