Hate, religious intolerance under political patronage fuelling militancy in Pak Punjab

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Islamabad, Mar.18 (ANI): A few days ago Pakistan Punjab province's Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's almost begged the Taliban to spare the province from violence. It was rather unusual for a political leader pleading to an outlawed extremist outfit to exempt the region which certainly highlights the fact that the roots of militancy have grown deeper into Punjab's soil.

Existence of terrorist groups in Punjab is nothing new as there have been reports regarding several militant organisations thriving in the region such as the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Jaish-i-Mohammad, Sipah-i-Sahaba and Harkatul Jihad al-Islami, but the situation has never been so bad.

Recently, Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) issued a 'red book' containing the list of most wanted militants across the country. In the list of 119 criminals there were 25 suspects belonging to Punjab, the highest number for any province. This underlines the seriousness of the issue.

Terrorism is spreading to other parts of the country as well but nowhere has it has acquired the enormous stature as it has in Punjab.

The need is for a comprehensive plan to check the terror menace from making further in roads in Punjab, but the task seems to be really difficult as the nothing much is being done to address the wider problem of infrastructure of hate and religious intolerance that is thriving in the province, often under official patronage, an editorial in The Dawn said.

No matter how many militants the state captures or kills, there will always be more if the pipeline of hate continues to churn out brainwashed foot soldiers, the editorial added.

The Punjab authorities must find a way, and the will, to shut down the pipeline of hate and intolerance before its tool late, it concluded. (ANI)

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