ISLAMABAD: While vehemently condemning the terrorist attacks in the country Pakistan Ulema Council head Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said that he strongly condemned all forms of violence in the country and offers his undeterred support for maintaining peace in the country, while claiming terrorists being trained by Afghan intelligence were behind attacks in Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference at the National Press Club Ashrafi condemned the attacks on anti-polio teams in Pakistan and urged the Taliban militants to revise their policies on polio campaign in the country. He said that Pakistan needed to have rigorous anti-polio campaign to counter the resurgence of this crippling disease. “32 Islamic institutions, including those in Saudi Arabia and Al Azar Egypt, have validated the anti-polio drives – so considering polio eradication campaigns as un-Islamic is not correct,” the PUC chairman said.
Condemning the suicide attack at Islamabad district court he asked the Taliban leadership to identify the renegade groups, so that the government can differentiate between those who want to negotiate and those who were conducting attacks against the nation. “The government must explain its policies in categorical terms to which Taliban it will hold talks and to which Taliban it will fight,” the cleric said while demanding “the nation must be informed under what conditions these negotiations are going to take place”.
“It has been a demonstration of responsibility on all sides that the ceasefire has not been shattered even after the gruesome Islamabad court incident,” he noted. Ashrafi added that the Taliban should also extend their seriousness towards ending the conflict through negotiations. “I demand that the Taliban leadership should return the bodies of slain FC men … while both sides should release each other’s non-combatant prisoners.”
Though Ashrafi did not make any comment on the existence of foreign intelligence in Pakistan, but he said that there were terrorist training centres in Afghanistan operated by the intelligence units of that country. “They are mainly responsible for the terror activities being executed inside Pakistan,” he said. Ashrafi also demanded the Taliban bring out all the details of the Islamabad attack and expose the elements behind the act if they were not involved.
Ashrafi said that the PUC has informed the government and the nation several times that some anti-Pakistan groups have set up camps with the support of Afghan intelligence agencies. “These groups do not want peace in Pakistan. The Pakistani government should raise this issue with the Afghan government.” He said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) can only take responsibility for the groups operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas, but some local and foreign groups are not under the control of the TTP. Therefore, the government should immediately formulate a policy for these groups.
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