Security forces have raided a seminary in Quetta and rounded up around 100 Afghan nationals for suspected links to militant groups, officials said on Sunday.
Balochistan government spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar told Voice of American (VOA) the detainees did not posses any identity documents. Authorities also seized “undesired literature” from the seminary, known as Madrassa Abdullah bin Zubair. The institution, he said, has been sealed after the overnight raid in the Bhoosa Mandi area and detainees are being probed for further legal action.
It is unclear what prompted Saturday’s raid but the locality is notorious for harbouring extremists linked to outlawed groups, including the Afghan Taliban.
Afghan officials have long alleged the Taliban insurgency takes direction from its so-called Quetta Shura (leadership war council) based in the Pakistani city and have pressed Islamabad to evict the insurgents. Pakistani officials reject the assertions.
A suspected US drone strike in May killed fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a remote district of Balochistan.
On Saturday, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti revealed security forces captured six operatives of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) in the remote district of Noshki, which is located on the way to Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and Iran.
“An important Daesh commander is also among the detainees,” Bugti said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. Without sharing his identity or nationality, the minister said the detained commander was involved in “brain-washing and recruiting youth” to send to fight in Syria. He did not elaborate.
Authorities in Pakistan have also lately intensified a crackdown against Afghans living illegally in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and detained and deported hundreds of them.
The police crackdown has also led to incidents of alleged harassment of registered Afghan refugees, prompting thousands of families to return to their country in recent months. The registered refugees have until December this year to stay in Pakistan legally.
Separately, a spokesman for the paramilitary force called Frontier Corps (FC) said Sunday it has arrested 328 Afghan nationals from different parts of Quetta for not possessing travel documents and working without permits. “Those arrested have been handed over to the authorities at the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) for their deportation,” a statement quoted him as saying.
In another incident, the Frontier Corps Balochistan arrested two suspected persons from Zhob and seized weapons from their possession on Sunday.
A spokesman for FC said that acting on a tip-off the FC team raided a place in Gawal Haiderzai area of Zhob and took two suspected persons into custody.
“The FC personnel also recovered weapons from the possession of the accused which include two SMGs and three pistols,” he said, adding that the suspects were held on suspicion of having relations with a banned organisation. Further probe was underway.