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Pak's religious parties support military operations against Taliban

world Updated: May 09, 2009 14:48 IST

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Pakistani religious parties of the Barelvi school of thought on Saturday forged an alliance to check extremist elements spreading Talibanisation in parts of the country, especially the politically strategic Punjab province, and backed the military operations against militants.

The parties – Sunni Tehrik, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Aalmi Tanzim Ahle Sunnat, Markazi Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, Karwan-e-Islam and Nizam-e-Mustafa – have joined hands under the banner of the Sunni Itehad Counsil (SIC).

The leaders of these parties told a news conference in Lahore that the Taliban's brand of Islam had landed other religious parties in hot waters as "the people have started equating us with Taliban".

"To dispel this impression and Taliban's version of Islam, we are going to hold an all Pakistan Ulema and Mashaikh conference in Islamabad on May 17. We strongly condemn Taliban and urge the Pakistan military to eliminate them at the earliest," they said in a statement.

The parties said they were monitoring elements in their seminaries that are reportedly targeting young students to achieve their nefarious designs.

There are intelligence reports that Taliban have focused on seminaries, including those in Punjab, to recruit youths.