No racial, ethnic profiling under action against terrorists: Khawaja Asif

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ISLAMABAD Mar 06 (APP): Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday categorically stated that no citizen of any province was being targeted during action in Punjab on racial or ethnic affiliations.
Responding to a point of order raised by MNAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alleging that Pakhtuns were being targeted in Punjab and Sindh, the minister rejected the impression and stated that action was being carried out across the board and without any racial or ethnic discrimination.
“Terrorism is not restricted to any community or area, rather it had permeated whole of the country and action against terrorists is across the board”, he said and mentioned to recent terrorist attacks in Sindh, Punjab and FATA that he stated had demanded strict action against terrorists.
He said if this action has created any impression that only Pakhtuns were targeted, it was not right as he assured that none of the innocent Pakistanis living in any area would be targeted.
“It is a sensitive matter and playing it up would be harmful for national integrity”, he remarked.
He said, that terrorists have no religious, ethnic or territorial allegiance. “Even some important terrorists were killed in Punjab. Therefore stating that Pakhtuns were being targeted in other provinces was not right”,he added.
The minister said even in his constituency thousands Afghans are living over the decades on the UNHCR cards. But, if anybody is staying in Pakistan illegally, the government and the law enforcing agencies are justified to take an action.
He also informed the House that a meeting is also being held within next couple of days on the issue of blocking CNICs.
He said Pakistan was hosting over three million Afghan refugees for the last three and half decades and Pakistan by action, would not desire to let others blemish its hospitality.
“We largely diverted our resources to feed these refugees. But, it is unfair if people among them would associate themselves with anybody threatening our integrity”.
Khawaja Asif requested the members to help the government and law enforcing agencies to overcome shortcomings, if there were any, instead of making it an issue.
“It is our collective struggle against terrorism and we shall have to collectively fight it. Our ideology should be defence of Pakistan instead of playing up issues on racial or ethnic grounds”.
MNAs Abdul Qahar Wadan and Engineer Tariqullah had raised the issue in the House claiming that Pakhtuns were targeted in Punjab and Sindh provinces in the name of operation against terrorism and this tendency had hurt the emotions of Pakhtuns across Pakistan.
Parliamentary Secretary National Food Security Rajab Ali Baloch also rejected the claim of members and said, certain politicians had played up the issue for political gains.
“The action or search operation was only meant to establish whether any illegal Afghan or outlaws were hiding in those localities”.
He said no action or operation was meant to exclusively target the Pakhtun community as it was only a verification exercise to know if the Afghans residing in different areas of Punjab were staying there legally.