Pak minister threatens opposition parties with Taliban attacks; Oppn demands his resignation

·3-min read
Pakistan Interior Minister Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah
Pakistan Interior Minister Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah

Islamabad [Pakistan], November 2 (ANI): Pakistan's controversial Interior Minister Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah, who is known for his links with terrorist groups, has threatened opposition parties of attacks by the Taliban.

Pakistan Opposition has sought the interior minister's resignation and said such statements "validate" the allegations of supporting terrorists, being levelled against the country by the world, Dawn reported.

At a recent ceremony at his hometown Nankana Sahib, the interior minister had said the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had, in reaction to the Awami National Party's (ANP) policies on terrorism, attacked the party leadership and killed many of its leaders, including Bashir Bilour and the son of Mian Iftikhar.

"Today, I pray for the safety of those following the N-League's narrative and wish for them to get divine's guidance," Brig Shah had stated, which went viral on social media.

Pakistani Opposition parties such as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and ANP, have formed a new alliance for restoring democracy in the country, along with Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The Opposition on Sunday reacted strongly to the remarks. While the PPP sought an apology from the interior minister over his remarks, the ANP called for his "immediate resignation".

In a statement, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesman for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, termed the minister's statement a violation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism and asked the latter to apologise to the entire nation and the political parties whose workers who were killed by terrorists.

Senator Khokhar was of the view that threatening the Opposition with possible attacks by the Taliban was not only against the NAP, but could create difficulties for the country at the international level.

"These kinds of irresponsible statements by the federal ministers have already caused a difficult situation for Pakistan in Financial Action Task Force," he said, adding that the ministers through such statements were in fact "validating" the allegations being levelled against Pakistan by the world.

Shah, a former Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operator is often criticised for policies and support for terrorists.

Khokhar said it was proved that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was right when she named Shah as "one of her (possible) killers" before her assassination.

Former prime minister and PPP chairperson Bhutto had named Shah in a letter as someone who should be investigated if she was assassinated.

After her assassination, the PPP accused Brig Shah of having links with Al Qaeda and Taliban, The News International reported.

Earlier, ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan said the interior minister's "irresponsible" and "foolish" diatribe had hurt the sentiments of the party leaders and workers who had sacrificed so much for the restoration of peace in the country.

In a tweet, the ANP chief said the state would have to give an explanation over the minister's statement. "Was the ANP fighting the war against terrorists for the protection of the state or against the state? Where was the minister when the fight against terrorism was going on," he asked. (ANI)