Islamabad, Nov 21 (IANS) Banned militant outfits Al Qaeda, Taliban and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi have joined hands to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Sunday.
But the militant outfits were now feeling the heat as the Pakistan army has launched a massive crackdown against them in the northwestern areas as well as other parts of the country, Malik told reporters in Karachi.
'They back each other in terrorist activities and also combine their resources for terrorism,' he said, adding that 'secret agencies have managed to arrest several high-profile targets who have divulged key information about their accomplices'.
All three militant outfits are banned in Pakistan and their known assets have been confiscated.
Lashkar-i-Jhangvi was involved in a recent blast in the Karachi Criminal Investigation Department (CID) office which killed at least 19 people. More than 140 people were injured in the suicide vehicle blast when the CID office building was targeted because arrested terrorists had been kept there for interrogation.
Malik, however, said reports about suicide bombers coming from outside Pakistan were not true.
'Whosoever we have arrested or tracked down so far has been revealed to be of Pakistani origin,' he said.
'We are ready to hold talks with militants only if they lay down their arms first. No dialogue can be held with those elements involved in destabilising Pakistan,' he said.
Pakistan has been a victim of major terrorist attacks in the last decade after the war on terror was launched in Afghanistan in 2001. Since then, Pakistan has joined in as an ally to flush out extremists from its own backyard.
Thousands of innocent Pakistani people have lost their lives in hundreds of deadly suicide attacks. Major urban centres are now being targeted even as security forces have stepped up the offensive against militants in Waziristan. The US has also increased drone attacks in the region bordering Afghanistan.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)