Islamabad: Unfazed by criticism from Pakistan`s powerful military for referring to the slain Taliban chief as a martyr, the ultra-right Jamaat-e-Islami on Monday took on the army by contending that it did not have the right to interfere in politics.
Jamaat general secretary Liaquat Baloch said the army`s media wing ISPR had issued a political press release which was unbecoming of a military force.
Angered by Jamaat head Munawar Hasans remarks describing slain Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud as a martyr, ISPR had yesterday demanded that he should tender an unconditional apology.’
The military also asked Hasan to apologise for "insulting" the martyrdom of soldiers killed in anti-terror operations.
Earlier today, Hasan said he stood by his remarks describing Mehsud as a martyr. The Jamaat`s Majlis-e-Shura or advisory council met to discuss the upcoming local body polls, US drone attacks and the controversy caused by Hasan`s remarks.
During the meeting, Baloch said Pakistan would have to get out of the drone war to establish sustainable peace. Those with a specific purpose and mentality were behind diverting attention to personal debates, he was quoted as saying by media.
"The issue at hand is the closure of NATO supplies and drone attacks," Baloch claimed. "Jamaat-e-Islami has always paid tribute to the martyrs of the Pakistan Army."
The Pakistani Taliban chief was killed in a US drone strike on November 1. The CIA`s drone campaign is an emotional issue and public opinion has been divided by the latest strike that killed Mehsud.
Pakistani politicians, except for a few, have criticised the strike and said it was deliberately carried out to scuttle proposed peace talks with the Taliban.
However, security analysts and former military officers are happy that Pakistan`s enemy number one has been killed.
The latest drone strike had renewed calls from some political and religious parties to shoot down the US unmanned spy planes and to block supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.