Days after Pakistan witnessed a deadly attack on its security forces inside a Peshawar mosque, the country’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah admitted inside the National Assembly that it was a collective mistake to prepare the mujahideen to go to war with a global force.
“We did not need to make Mujahideen. We created Mujahideen and then they became terrorists,” Sanaullah said while addressing the country’s upper house of Parliament on January 31.
The Interior Minister also claimed that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had released members of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistani Taliban who were serving death sentences.
Sanaullah’s remarks came after the proscribed TTP claimed responsibility for the January 30 mosque attack in Peshawar which left 100 people dead and over 220 injured. The explosion occurred in the mosque’s central hall on Monday at around 1 pm after a suicide bomber blew himself up.
Sanaullah also admitted the belief that the TTP, formally called the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan, is an umbrella organisation of various Islamist armed militant groups operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border, would lay down their arms and submit to the law was mistaken, as per Geo News.
Inside Pakistan’s National Assembly, there was a heated debate on January 31 with members demanding major reforms to eradicate terror.
After the Peshawar mosque blast, a faction of the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack but hours later a TTP spokesperson tweeted distancing itself from the claim and said their policy does not include targeting mosques.
Since November last year terror attacks across Pakistan have been increasing after a peace deal between the TTP and the Pakistan government was called off by the proscribed group. The TTP was formed in the year 2007 by banding together of several armed groups who protested against Pakistan’s cooperation with the US in its war on terrorism. The TTP supported the Afghan Taliban’s fight against the US and The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sanaullah also stressed that it was incorrect to think that the TTP was separate from the Afghan Taliban. He said that the prior policy to resettle the Taliban could not bear fruit and led to the current situation in Pakistan.
Furthermore, Sanaullah said that outlawed TTP terrorists have found safe havens in a neighbouring country. He stressed that the development comes despite Afghan Taliban making an agreement with Pakistan and the international community that they would not permit their land to be used against any other nation, according to Geo News. He highlighted the need to hold talks with Afghanistan in order to stop terrorists from having safe shelters.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also speaking in the National Assembly said that the country’s National Security Committee will decide on the operation against terrorists.
He said that in the last 1.5 years around 4.5 lakh Afghans had entered Pakistan with valid documents but have not returned to Afghanistan. “Who is the terrorist among them, I cannot say anything about it,” he said.
“When we were having a shortage of dollars, a truckload of dollars was sent to Afghanistan. We use to buy coal from them, they took Pakistani Rupees and bought dollars from here only and dollars sky-rocketed in Pakistan,” he added.
Khawaja further stated that Afghan refugees are present even in the smaller cities of Pakistan and they are in millions.
“As per some reports, other than UNHCR reports, more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees are present in Pakistan,” said Khawaja.