Washington, June 23 (ANI): Extremists and sectarian organisations are operating freely in Pakistan's Punjab province, however, strangely enough the federal government appears to be reluctant to take action against them, despite the outfits having joined hands with the Taliban.
According to the Washington Post, these terror organisations were working openly in Punjab with 'occasional' support from officials.
"The Punjab government tolerated violence against minorities and others considered infidels" because it was part of Pakistan's political "mindset," and confronting it might spawn more radicals," the newspaper highlighted.
The report said that the Punjab government had "muzzled itself out of fear" because it relied on the backing of religious conservatives who hold great sway in the region.
It also noted that officially banned militant groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) ran mosques and seminaries that served as 'incubators' for aspiring jihadis.
Demands for a Swat and Malakand type military operation in Punjab have gained momentum, especially after last month's brazen terror siege of the two Ahmedi mosques in Lahore, in which over 90 people were killed and over 150 sustained injuries.
However, the provincial government led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) appears to be hesitant to carry out any offensive against militant groups based in the region.
Even Interior Minister Rehman Malik had stressed that it was important to reign in the Punjab based terror groups, which have acquired dangerous proportion by joining hands with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists of Waziristan, but also backed off from his stance later.
While Malik had clearly pointed out that Punjab based terror organisations pose a great risk and that they are planning some major attacks across the country, provincial leaders believe that the situation is under control.
"Army operations are required only where there are no-go areas and there is no such situation in any part of Punjab," said Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Law Minister and a trusted aide of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
It is pertinent to mention 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)