Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused PML-N of protecting Lashkar e Jhangvi (LEJ), a feared terrorist network, in Punjab during the party’s previous regime from 2008 to 2013 in the Punjab.
Truth Tracker contacted Senator Rehman Malik and asked about the source of his information. He said, “It is not a secret. The former PML-N Government released several LEJ militants (from detainment) and provided them police guards.”
Malik is a stalwart of the Pakistan Peoples Party, an arch rival of PML-N, and had been leveling various kinds of allegations against the PML-N leadership.
While speaking in Jamia Naeema Lahore, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in a stunning statement, said that the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan should stop terrorist activities in Punjab as the Punjab Government is not taking any action against them. http://paktribune.com/news/CM-Punjab-Shahbaz-asks-Taliban-not-to-attack-Punjab-225526.html
After this contradictory statement, PPP and other political parties accused PML-N of harboring Lashkar e Jhangvi and other extremists. In Feb 2013, former Interior Minister Malik said that the Punjab government is supporting Lashkar e Jhangvi and Sipah e Sahaba (SSP), adding that it must take serious action against LEJ and SSP to stop terrorism.
PML-N denied having ties with Lashkar e Jhangvi and Sipah e Sahaba, now known as Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat. If we look back, past tenures of PML-N in Punjab, the PML-N led government had arrested Malik Ishaq during the crackdown against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 1998 after mass targeted killings of shiites, but he was also released during the PML-N rule in Punjab in 2011 through Lahore High Court’s orders, said Mubasher Bukhari, analyst and expert on Pakistani Militant groups. “Investigators could not produce evidence against him, which made his release easy,” said Bukhari.
PML-N spokesperson Siddiqul Farooq said Former Interior Minister has been accusing PML –N without any proof. “We fielded our candidate against the SSP Chief Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi for NA-89 Jhang and defeated him. That proves the PML-N has no links with Lashkar Jhangvi or its linked groups.”
Truth Tracker also contacted analyst and TV anchor Muhammad Malik, who said that Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik had accused the Punjab Government and that the accusations constitute a serious matter. He said it was the legal and moral duty of Rehman Malik to prove his allegations with evidences in court.
Rehman Malik further told Truth Tracker in March 2013 that he had requested that the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan take action against the PML-N for having links with Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar e Jhangvi. “I can support my claim with evidence in court of law,” said Malik.
He said, “Being Interior Minister, I wrote several letters to the PML-N Punjab Government about taking action against the Lashkar but nothing was done.”
Former Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly and PPP Parliamentarian Syeda Shehla Raza told Truth Tracker by telephone, “During the election campaigns only three political parties – PPP, MQM and ANP – were facing restrictions and were targeted whereas other parties were given free hand. Even PTI Leader Imran Khan thanked [the] Taliban in his speeches for not bombing his campaigns.”
Replying to a question regarding evidences against the Punjab government, she said evidence includes: rigging at polling stations, bomb blasts in election rallies of the targeted parties, and giving free reign to SSP, Lashker e Jhangvi. These connections constitute soft ties with the terrorist networks. Evidence also includes published photos of Ex-Law Minister Rana Sanaullah with Lashker e Jhangvi leaders. Shahbaz Sharif also made the statements that “We and Taliban have same points of views”. All this evidence, she said, supports Malik’s statement.
The assessment evidence and photographs of a Punjab government alliance with Lashker e Jhangvi and Sipha e Sahaba can be viewed here.
1) Shahbaz Sharif statements record .
2) Lashker e Jhagvi contesting from PML-N ticket.
In light of media reports and analysts’ views, it appears that Malik’s statement is mostly true.