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Pakistan interior minister defends meeting extremist leader considered 'godfather of militants'

Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan defended his widely criticised meeting with popular extremist leaders, saying it was unfair to link everything to a sectarian leader considered the godfather of militants.

Nisar was referring to the criticism he faced from Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for his meeting with Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, chief of the proscribed anti-Shiite Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The party had also accused him of maintaining friendly ties with Ludhianvi.

File picture of Chaudhry Nisar. AFP

File picture of Chaudhry Nisar. AFP

"How is it fair to link everything to Maulana Ludhianvi?" Khan asked. "Which PPP leader did not meet leaders of proscribed
organisations in their time?"

Khan had created a storm after meeting the so-called godfather of militants, Maulana Samiul Haq, and Ludhianvi last year, which was widely covered by the mainstream media. The minister created another controversy last week when he told Senate that outlawed sectarian organisations should not be equated with terrorist outfits.

Responding to criticism, Khan said he was suggesting that there should be a separate law to deal with groups banned on sectarian basis from the militants groups. He said there was nothing wrong in saying the Shia-Sunni conflict dated back 1,300 years and is a part of Islamic history.

Taking credit for action against militants, Khan said, "During my tenure, about 450,000 Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and 32,400 passports have been blocked. There is no record of a single CNIC being blocked from 2002 till 2007, which reflects on negligence of previous governments."

He said that efforts were being made to recover the five civil society activists who went missing in the past week. "We are making efforts to recover all missing men so they could return to their families," Khan said.

The minister also said that a meeting was held to discuss the future of special military courts to try 'hard-core' terrorists but no decision has been taken so far.

Updated Date: Jan 14, 2017 18:56 PM

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