Taliban expanding network in Pak's military, political heartland- Punjab

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Lahore, Jun. 17 (ANI): The recent string of bloody terror attacks across the Punjab province have put a stamp on fears that militancy has deep rooted itself in the political and military heartland of Pakistan.

The emergence of a new extremist network known as the Punjabi Taliban, which has strong ties with both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, is certainly a cause of worry not only for the provincial government but also for the federal government, which is already facing the heat of militancy in the lawless tribal regions along the Afghan border.

The Punjabi Taliban is believed to have joined hands with various local terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which has made matters worse.

Even Rana Sanaullah, the provincial Law Minister, admits that at least 20 to 30 percent members of local terror groups have joined forces with the Punjabi Taliban network to wreak havoc in Punjab.

Despite admitting that the situation is fast spiralling out of control, Sanaullah has objected to calls for a full-scale military operation in the region to quell the terror threat, saying the real threat comes from the training camps in terror hot bed North Waziristan.

However, observers believe that Sanaullah and many provincial leaders like him are against military action against these terror groups because they hugely rely on them for their political ambitions.

It is worth mentioning here that Sanaullah had attracted wide criticism after he was seen hobnobbing with leaders of banned terror outfit Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) during a local election in Jhang a few days ago. (ANI)

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