Minister warns of more attacks on minorities.

Friday's twin terror attacks on places of worship belonging to the minority Islamic sect, Ahmadis, represented a growing nexus between the Punjabi Taliban and the Al-Qaeda. This was disclosed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Sunday after visiting the Ahmadi Ibadatgahs (places of worship) that came under attack in Lahore on Friday.

According to the Minister, banned outfits like the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba had joined hands with the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda to destabilise Pakistan. Warning of a similar attack on Shias, he said the effort of the terrorists — under fire in their hideouts in Waziristan because of the government's war on terror — now is to fuel a sectarian strife within the country to weaken Pakistan.

The government's contention is that after they were banned, these outfits broke up and regrouped in Waziristan where they got training from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. But with the security forces closing in on those areas, they returned to the Punjab and became part of sleeper cells. “Those militants who were in hiding in south Punjab are now surfacing,” said Mr. Malik.

As for the possibility of India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) having a hand in the attacks on the Ahmadi community, the Minister said he would not say anything on this till he had evidence. Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervez had earlier suggested the possibility of RAW's involvement in the attack but Mr. Malik said: “I have told him to give me the evidence if has it. But I will not endorse it till I have solid evidence.”

On Saturday, the Taliban Media Centre, in an email, congratulated the whole nation on what the “brave mujahideen” did in Lahore. “As a whole we do like to encourage the nation for increasing this kind of activities like target killings of [a derogatory reference for Ahmadis], Shias, supporting political parties, law enforcement agencies, Pakistan Army, racist parties and many more,” the email added.

More In: International | News