Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan today defended his widely criticised meeting with popular extremist leaders, saying it was unfair to link everything to a sectarian leader also known as the godfather of militants. Nisar was referring to the criticism he faced from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for his meeting with Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, chief of the proscribed anti-Shiite Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The party had also accused him of maintaining friendly ties with Ludhianvi. "How is it fair to link everything to Maulana Ludhianvi?" Khan told reporters in Rawalpindi in response to a question. "Which PPP leader did not meet leaders of proscribed organisations in their time?" he asked. Khan created a storm after his last year's meeting with so-called godfather of militants Maulana Samiul Haq and Ludhianvi among others which was widely covered by the mainstream media. The minister created another controversy last week when he told Senate that outlawed sectarian organisations should not be equated with terrorist outfits. Responding to criticism, Khan said that he was suggesting that there should be a separate law to deal with groups banned on sectarian basis from the militants groups. He said there was nothing wrong in saying that the Shia-Sunni conflict dated back 1300 years and is a part of the Islamic history. Taking credit for action against militants, Khan said, "during my tenure, about 450,000 Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and 32,400 passports have been blocked.
There is no record of a single CNIC being blocked from 2002 till 2007, which reflects on negligence of previous governments,". He said that efforts were being made to recover the five civil society activists who went missing in the past week. "We are making efforts to recover all missing men so they could return to their families," Khan said. The minister also said that a meeting was held to discuss the future of special military courts to try 'hard-core' terrorists but no decision has been taken so far.
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