Targeting parties like ANP for secular views: Taliban
Islamabad: The Taliban are selectively targeting political parties like the Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement ahead of Pakistan's general election because of their secular views, a spokesman for the banned militant group said on Sunday.
The 'shura' or central council of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan decided to target "secular political parties" that were part of the last coalition government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party and were involved in ordering military operations against militants in Swat and other areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.
The selective targeting of political parties and candidates was the "decision and prerogative of the Taliban Shura", Ihsan was quoted as saying on the website of the Dawn newspaper.
Asked about the Taliban not attacking political parties like Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Maulana Fazlur Rehman's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami and PML-N though they too are contesting elections within the same secular system, Ihsan said the militants were focussing on parties that were in the outgoing government.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan follows the instructions of the shura, which decided the political parties to target, he said.
In response to another question about the Taliban paving the way for some parties to win the elections and denying space to others, Ihsan said: "Neither we are against nor in favour of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, PML- N, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam".
He added, "We are against the secular and democratic system, which is against the ideology of Islam but we are not expecting any good from the other parties either".
He contended the other parties too support the democratic system but the Taliban had the "prerogative" of deciding whether to target them.
Referring to militant attacks on independent candidates, Ihsan claimed that "all secular minds supporting and taking part in the elections would be targeted".
Over the past few days, the Taliban have targeted campaign offices and election meetings of the ANP, PPP and MQM in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Dozens have been killed or injured in these attacks.