Islamabad: Pakistani authorities will take
effective action to eliminate banned militant groups operating
in Punjab province though no military operation is planned
against them, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.
Malik made the remarks while interacting with
journalists in the federal capital.
He said several banned groups, including
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sihaba, are active in Punjab and
were operating as the Punjabi Taliban.
"Effective action will be taken against the banned
outfits on the basis of intelligence reports but there will be
no military action in Punjab," he said.
"They are terrorists and they are undertaking
terrorist activities in Punjab," he said.
The government has conducted successful operations
against the Taliban in Pakistan`s tribal belt, including South
Waziristan Agency, and terrorist organisations in other parts
of the country will also be eliminated, he said.
Malik had said over the weekend that banned groups
like Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba
had joined hands with the Taliban and Al Qaida to destabilise
Pakistan and to spread sectarianism and anarchy.
During an appearance before the Senate`s standing
committee on the interior ministry, Malik said the Punjabi
Taliban had assumed dangerous dimensions in the southern part
of Punjab province and were planning to carry out major
The Punjabi Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were
linked to several major terrorist attacks in the recent past,
including the suicide car bombing of the Marriott Hotel in
Islamabad and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in
Lahore, he said.
Intelligence is being shared with the Punjab
government by federal authorities and the province has been
asked to conduct actions on the basis of this intelligence,
Responding to a question from journalists about
Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested for a
recent botched car bomb attack in New York, Malik said
authorities had arrested a number of people belonging to
educated families for their links with the accused.
"We have to change our mentality for the elimination
of terrorism and extremism," he said.
Malik said some religious leaders were opposed to
operations against militants though this matter will be
resolved in consultation with senior clerics so that action
could be taken against banned groups.