In a startling revelation, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said legal action against militant groups such as Jamaatud Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) is not possible as the “state itself is involved.”
In an interview to BBC Urdu, Sanaullah was asked why action has never been taken against pro-establishment and anti-Indian groups in the province, to which he responded saying, “By pro-establishment groups if you mean JuD and JeM, then let me tell you that they have been declared proscribed organisations and they can no longer carry out any activity in the province.”
However, ruling out the possibility of legal action against the groups, the Punjab law minister questioned, “How can you prosecute a group with whom the state itself has been involved with?”
Refuting allegations that raids and operations against extremist elements are not conducted in Punjab as they are in other provinces, the minister said more people were arrested and prosecuted in Punjab than any other province. “More suspects have been arrested and prosecuted in Punjab than any other province,” he said.
“This is why the law and order situation in the province is better than the rest of the country,” he added.
When asked about South Punjab’s link to militancy, Sanaullah said the whole country was plagued with extremism. “The impression that South Punjab is the hub of militancy is not correct, ” he said, adding that the PPP government given a freehand to militants in the region in return for “political gains”.
“After Gulshan-e-Iqbal park incident, we conducted more than 10,000 intelligence based operations in Punjab,” the minister said, adding that more than 50,000 people were questioned during these operations.
Refusing to give a time-frame for the ongoing operation in the province, Sanaullah said, “The operation will continue until terrorist havens are eliminated and that may take a few years to complete.”
The article originally appeared on BBC Urdu.