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Tuesday, July 13

Round up the usual suspects, work up the paperwork

LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistan's political heartland has ordered a crackdown on militants after a series of devastating attacks and accusations of links to banned groups, officials said Monday.

New Delhi and Washington have long demanded that Pakistan root out extremist Islamist militant groups that use its soil to launch attacks across the country, as well as in neighbouring Afghanistan and India.

But the details and scope of the apparent crackdown -- which comes just days before Pakistan is due to host India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna for talks in Islamabad -- were unclear.

"The government has ordered a policy of zero tolerance against all these groups. There are at least 2,000 to 2,200 activists of banned outfits being closely monitored in Punjab," police official Akram Naeem Bharoka told AFP.

"We have very clear instructions from the government that no outlawed organisation should be allowed to continue their activities in any part of the province," Bharoka said.

Asked how many people had been arrested and offices targeted, the senior official in Punjab police said only that figures were being compiled. ...

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