ANJUM BASHIR and AWAAR AFTAB
KHANEWAL\VEHARI - Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Sunday claimed that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had links with each other.Talking to media people in Jehanian near Khanewal, Rehman Malik said Malik Ishaq and Allama Ludhiyanvi were leading two groups of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi with the new name, ‘Ahle Sunnah wal-Jamaat’.The interior minister said that due to the action taken by the government, the banned outfits had been crushed and now they were on the run. He criticised the Punjab government for not taking proper action against these outfits. He urged the Punjab government to arrest 734 terrorists, adding a list of the terrorists had already been provided to the Punjab. He lamented that on the information provided by the federal government and its pressure, the Punjab government took action against this banned outfit half-heartedly.Malik said whenever Taliban became weak, they talked about dialogue, but the government would form a strong team to initiate dialogue for peace. He also asked the Taliban to nominate serious people for talks.Earlier, he landed in the Wahla Stadium in Jahanian at 1:20pm and remained in the city for two hours. PPP MNA Iftikhar Nazir strongly refuted the rumours that he was joining any other party due to differences with the party leadership. He said Asif Ali Zardari was his leader and he would stand by the party till death. Later, inaugurating a passport office in Vehari‚ the interior minister said conditions in Karachi and Quetta were being worsened to delay the general elections, but these would be held in time.He said action against terrorists without any discrimination would continue till they were eliminated. He added the enemies were working to destabilise the country, “but we will foil their nefarious designs by forging unity.” Malik opined all the provincial governments and the Centre must crack down jointly on terrorists. Answering a question, he said the assemblies would be dissolved by the mid of March 2013 and the general elections held on time according to the Constitution.He added that with the establishment of the passport office in Jahanian, residents of the area would benefit from the facility at their doorsteps. On this occasion, PPP MNAs Iftikhar Nazir and Nasim Chaudhry, Haji Attaur Rehman, other PPP leaders, high officials of the passport office from Multan and Islamabad and hundreds of the party workers were also present. Referring to Maulvi Faqir’s arrest, he said: “The Taliban leader was caught by the Afghan government and we will contact Interpol to bring him back.” Malik underlined the need that all the provinces should take action against terrorists, adding had the Punjab government taken action on the letters sent by him concerning LeJ, the Kirani Road tragedy in Quetta would not have occurred. Mallik said after the 18th Amendment, law and order was the responsibility of the provincial governments. He added that information regarding an attack on Hazara community had been given by him four days before, questioning whose fault it was if the attack could not be stopped.Rehman Malik also inaugurated a passport office in Vehari along with MNA Tochi Khan from Mailsi, MNA Natasha Dultana and MNA Asghar Jatt. Malik reached Vehari at 5pm while the people and journalists had been waiting for him since 11am. He told the audience that this passport office would give relief to the people of the region and that it was an effort of Nazir Jatt. He announced that the elections would be held on time. He said blasts in Karachi, Peshawer and Quetta were an attempt to spoil the atmosphere, but the conspirators would not succeed in their nefarious designs. “I, as the interior minister, am ready to cooperate with the Punjab government if they want to break terrorists’ network. We are not sincere to our next generation, if we do not curb terrorism,” he said. He said, “I salute Altaf Hussain with whose cooperation the government has completed its five years. He is our brother and often misunderstandings develop among brothers. Our relations will remain intact.” “PPP, the party of the poor, has offered sacrifices and will not hesitate to offer further sacrifices for the country and democracy. The people are with PPP and with their support and vote, we will win the next elections as well,” he claimed. Malik said the people of Southern Punjab should be given the right to have their own province. Answering a question, he said Tauqir Sadiq would be brought back to the country. “We respect the judiciary. If we can sacrifice our prime minister, we will also accept all the orders of the court in future,” he said.Malik also announced Rs 300,000 grant for the Vehari Press Club at a meeting with its office bearers at the Circuit House. He announced that he would give jobs to 100 educated youths if the Election Commission did not ban new recruitments.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 25-Feb-2013 here.