In quite an audacious move, the Government has discreetly banned the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), the BBC Urdu reported Saturday.

According to the report the notification issued by the Interior Ministry a couple of weeks ago, the ASWJ was suspected to have been involved in terrorism related activities across the country.

It is vital to mention here the ASWJ was the new version of Sipah-e-Sahaba, the defunct militant group.

Astonishingly, the new notification that has not been unannounced publically was issued based on Schedule-One of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Having copies of the notification with them, the BBC reported that authorities in all four provinces have been alerted to the change in status.

The report further claimed that it repeatedly tried to get a version from Interior Minister Rehman Malik, he did not respond.

However, ASWJ chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi expressed his unfamiliarity with the ban, saying they would challenge in court if such a ban exist. “Our groups respect the law of the land, and try to impose ban on my organization is akin to impose a ban on Pakistan”, he observed.

The ASWJ was came into the day light after former president Pervez Musharraf put a bar on Sipah-e-Sahaba along with five other outfits, on January 12, 2002.

The U.S. had expressed reservations over the increasing activities of ASWJ in the country. It its view, the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), which, like the ASWJ operates under the banner of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), was a front for militant group.

A few members of Sipah-e-Sahaba parting ways formed a group namely Lashkar-e-Taiba, which started terrorist activities across the country.

In the present scenario, all the banned outfits appeared on the surface under the banner of Difa-e-Pakistan Council.

It is a coalition of over 40 religious and political parties that has been vocally demanding the government to keep NATO supply routes closed and withdraw its decision to grant India the status of most-favored nation (MFN).

The first rally of the DPC was organized by Jamatud Dawa (JuD) in Lahore, whose leadership is in charge of coordination and communication between all members of the group. Later, rallies have also been organized in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan.

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