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Punjab Govt Takes over Bahawalpur seminary believed to be JeM’s headquarters

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Interior Ministry on Friday said that the Punjab government has taken over a mosque-and-seminary complex in Bahawalpur that is said to have been the headquarters of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which is being accused of involvement in the Pulwama attack in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

More than 650 students are enrolled in the seminary.

A spokesman of the ministry was quoted as saying by a local publication that the government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, reportedly the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and appointed an administrator to manage its affairs.”

The spokesman further told that Punjab police has also taken over security of the campus.

A follow-up statement issued by the interior ministry’s spokesperson stated that Indian media outlets are linking the Bahawalpur complex to a JeM training centre, but the facility is in fact “purely a madressah and Jamia Masjid (central mosque) where several orphans and students from underprivileged families are receiving religious and worldly education”.

Bahawalpur Deputy Commissioner Shozaib Saeed and Bahawalpur SP Saleem Niazi had paid a “surprise visit” to the campus, and surveyed all of its buildings and the facilities provided in them.

According to the statement, the complex provides worldly education until grade 6, and following their secondary and intermediate schooling, students are provided bachelors- and masters-level education leading to Dars-e-Nizami (madressah degree).

“The Special Branch [of police], Counter-Terrorism Department and other departments carry out a formal scrutiny of this and other madressahs on a monthly basis,” the ministry’s handout stated.

It said the Punjab government has taken over the management of the Bahawalpur institution as a “preventative measure”.

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