ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have arrested at least 9,000 suspected militants, including over 3,000 clerics, as part of a massive crackdown launched by security forces on militants and their sympathisers.
The arrests were part of the National Action Plan (NAP) to eliminate militancy after Taliban last month attacked a school and killed 136 students.
Up to 3,100 clerics of various seminaries and mosques in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad have been picked up so far.
Over 3,650 Afghan refugees suspected of involvement in terror-related activities, were also arrested by the police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary across the country, Express Tribune reported.
Another 490 and 400 suspected militants have been picked up in Sindh and Balochistan respectively.
Law enforcement agencies, in coordination with intelligence operators, have conducted around 9,912 search operations in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Some 5,510 terror suspects of an estimated 9,000 have been put on a new watch list under the 4th schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Officials say Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is at the forefront of the battle having arrested some 6,702 suspected militants.
Its police and Frontier Corps jointly arrested 2,700 Afghan refugees in a fresh crackdown in several cities. Around 217 prayer leaders were also booked for violating loudspeakers’ laws.