Islamabad, April 10
Pakistan’s push to curb armed militant groups in the wake of a standoff with India that brought the nuclear-armed neighbours close to war reflected an urgent need for stability to meet growing economic challenges, Prime Minister Imran Khan said.
Facing a financial crisis and heavy pressure to take on militant groups to avoid sanctions from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terror finance watchdog, Khan said Pakistan was acting in its own interests.
“Everyone now knows that what is happening in Pakistan has never happened (before),” Khan told a group of foreign journalists at his office in Islamabad on Tuesday, outlining a push to bring the more than 30,000 madrasas across Pakistan under government control and rehabilitate thousands of former militants.
“We have decided, this country has decided, for the future of the country – forget outside pressure – we will not allow armed militias to operate,” he said.
The comments underline a push by Pakistan to improve its image after years of accusations that its security services have exploited militant groups as proxies against neighbours, including India and Afghanistan.