GLOBAL ECONOMY

Minister says terror coming from tribal regions not Punjab

  • In this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 photo, Rana Sanaullah, Punjab's provincial law minister, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Lahore, Pakistan. Sanaullah said police were searching out areas in Punjab dominated by ethnic Pashtuns and unregistered Afghan refugees because some of the worst attacks carried out in the provincial capital of Lahore involved residents of the tribal areas. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

    In this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 photo, Rana Sanaullah, Punjab's provincial law minister, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Lahore, Pakistan. Sanaullah said police were searching out areas in Punjab dominated by ethnic Pashtuns and unregistered Afghan refugees because some of the worst attacks carried out in the provincial capital of Lahore involved residents of the tribal areas. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 file photo, a Pakistani police officer escorts Hafiz Saeed, left, Chief of Pakistan's religious group Jamaat-ud-Dawa outside party's headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan. Last month Pakistan placed Hafiz Saeed, a declared terrorist with a U.S. imposed $10 million bounty on his head, under house arrest, yet Sanaullah questioned allegations against Saeed, mostly connected to militant attacks in Indian held Kashmir, a Himalayan region, whose ownership is contested by both Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 file photo, a Pakistani police officer escorts Hafiz Saeed, left, Chief of Pakistan's religious group Jamaat-ud-Dawa outside party's headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan. Last month Pakistan placed Hafiz Saeed, a declared terrorist with a U.S. imposed $10 million bounty on his head, under house arrest, yet Sanaullah questioned allegations against Saeed, mostly connected to militant attacks in Indian held Kashmir, a Himalayan region, whose ownership is contested by both Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 photo, a Pakistani paramilitary soldier checks documents of a resident during a search operation in the neighborhood of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Rana Sanaullah, Punjab's provincial law minister said police were searching out areas in Punjab dominated by ethnic Pashtuns and unregistered Afghan refugees because some of the worst attacks carried out in the provincial capital of Lahore involved residents of the tribal areas. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    In this Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 photo, a Pakistani paramilitary soldier checks documents of a resident during a search operation in the neighborhood of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Rana Sanaullah, Punjab's provincial law minister said police were searching out areas in Punjab dominated by ethnic Pashtuns and unregistered Afghan refugees because some of the worst attacks carried out in the provincial capital of Lahore involved residents of the tribal areas. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)  (The Associated Press)

Police say about 1,300 suspected militants have been arrested in a sweep of hideouts in Pakistan's largest province of Punjab.

The sweep comes despite the provincial law minister's defense of some groups designated as terrorist organizations and banned by Pakistan but resurrected under new names.

Rana Sanaullah also embraced some sectarian leaders whose groups have been accused of fomenting violence against minority Islamic sects, raising questions about his commitment to ridding Punjab of militants.

Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operations, said another 36 militants died in shootouts with police and in paramilitary operations since the sweep began last month.

In an interview, however, Sanaullah questioned the label of terrorist for anti-Indian militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has resurfaced as Jamaat ud Daawa.