An inquiry commission set up by Pakistan’s Supreme Court has criticised the government for failing to ban terror groups and accused interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of meeting a cleric who heads three proscribed groups and conceding to his demands.
In a scathing indictment of efforts by the government and Khan to counter terror groups, the commission said the interior minister had “displayed little sense of ministerial responsibility” and “inexplicably delayed in proscribing terrorist organisations”.
The panel comprising Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa, set up to probe a suicide attack at Quetta’s Civil Hospital on August 8 that killed 74 people, said in its report that Khan had denied his meeting with Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi – the head of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat – even though it was widely reported by the media with photographs.
- An inquiry commission set up by Pakistan’s Supreme Court has criticised the government for failing to ban terror groups
- It accused interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of meeting a cleric who heads three proscribed groups
- The commission also said the government should enforce the Anti-Terrorism Act and terrorist groups must be proscribed and not allowed to hold meetings
Khan met Ludhianvi at the Punjab House – an official guesthouse of Punjab province – in Islamabad on October 21 to listen to the cleric’s demands. According to media reports, Khan conceded several of these demands, such as issuing national ID cards to leaders of the banned groups.
The report, posted on the Supreme Court’s website, pointed out that Ludhianvi was named as the head of the groups by the interior ministry’s “list of proscribed organisations”.
The commission also accused Khan of convening only one meeting of the executive committee of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority in more than three-and-a-half years, violating the decisions of NACTA and having “not proscribed a well-known terrorist organisation”.
“The Ministry of Interior is without clear leadership and direction; consequently, it is confused about its role in combating terrorism. The Ministry’s National Security Internal Policy is not being implemented,” the report said.
The National Action Plan, which Pakistan framed to counter terrorism after some 150 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014, was “not a plan in any structured or meaningful way, nor has its goals been accordingly monitored or implemented”, the report added.
“Proscribed organisations continue their illegal activities and new terrorist organisations are proscribed after long delays. Some terrorist organisations have still not been proscribed or prosecuted, even when their statements acknowledging terrorist attacks are broadcasted and printed,” it said.
The commission also said the government should enforce the Anti-Terrorism Act and terrorist groups must be proscribed and not allowed to hold meetings.
The report was largely devoted to the need for action against the Jamaat ul Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Almi, which were linked to the attack on Quetta’s Civil Hospital, but a number of anti-India groups active in Pakistan – such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah – have not been banned by authorities.