By Shahzad Raza, Pakistan Daily Times, Tuesday Aug 24, 2004
ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Maulana Samiul Haq on Monday admitted that some religious leaders in Pakistan had contact with men who were labelled terrorists by the government.
“It is natural for those fighting along with us against the Russian occupation forces in Afghanistan to still have contact with us,” he said on a point of order in the Senate while condemning the recent police raids on madrassas.
Maulana Sami denied that the religious leaders from those madrassas were involved in the terrorists’ plot to blow up important government buildings.
Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told the house that the government would not spare the abettors of terrorists only because they were maulvis. He said terrorists would not escape law enforcement agencies. Maulana Sami said the United States and the Pakistani government created the Taliban through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to defeat the Soviet Union during the Afghan war.
The interior minister said whenever the government started an anti-terrorist operation, the religious leaders alleged that it was targeting mosques and madrassas.
The interior minister said the government did not target madrassas but wanted to modernise them and a huge sum was allocated in the current budget for the purpose. The minister denied that police entered the Lal Masjid’s girls hostel.
Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq said the government had already told clerics that the anti-terror campaign was not targeted against any madrassa or religious organisation. He asked the religious leaders not to portray terrorists as heroes.