Secretly pro-drone Sanaullah vows military action against militants in Punjab

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“Inside, everyone believes that drone attacks are good; but outside, everyone condemns because the drones are American,” says the provincial law minister.

-LAHORE-

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah has vowed a military action against Taliban militants in Punjab while rejecting speculations of violations of human rights in the anti-terror law, the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) 2013, passed recently.
To protect Punjab, “operations” will be mounted in 174 areas of the province where communities of Pashtuns have settled, Sanaullah said.
“We feel apprehension that they will retaliate in Punjab.”
While giving an interview to the British news paper The Guardian, Sanaullah asserted that the time is ripe to pound the hideouts of militants in the province.
He told the newspaper that the decision for a military action has been finalised but the extent and form of the military action would be decided by the Pakistan Army.
Talking about the PPO, the minister brushed way the warnings by opposition parties that the new anti-terror law imposed without parliamentary approval last week could turn the country into a “police state”.
Among the provisions of PPO are secret courts, greater shoot-to-kill freedoms for the police, house raids without warrants and the detention of terror suspects without charge for three months.
“This should have been done 10 years ago. Even if it is 5% misused ,we must support it anyway because without it there is no chance that you can fight terrorists,” Sanaullah told the newspaper.
Mustafa Qadri from Amnesty International had criticized PPO terming it “some of the most repressive security laws in Pakistan’s history”.
Sanaullah rejected such doubts, saying rights groups were “serving the cause of the Taliban”.
“This has to be enforced on war footing,” said the provincial law minister.
During the interview, Sanaullah even defended US drones which Pakistan’s politicians have publicly railed against for years.
“We believe that drone attacks damage the terrorists, very much,” he said, admitting much of the outrage over drones was contrived.
“Inside, everyone believes that drone attacks are good; but outside, everyone condemns because the drones are American,” he said.
Sanaullah also told the British daily that Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) which also holds the federal government along with Punjab was waiting for the retirement of three critical figures late last year to publicize its new stance on militancy.
He was referring to the former president Asif Ali Zardari, the former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and the former army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
“If Chief Justice Chaudhry was in office now, he would have struck down the PPO the next day,” he said.
He also claimed Kayani, who served as head of Pakistan’s powerful army for six years, had been reluctant to tackle the TTP.

-ONLINE

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