LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to respect Pakhtuns as Pakistanis during the ongoing anti-terror operations in Punjab.

“The operation is aimed at targeting terrorists. Pakhtuns living in Punjab are our brothers and sisters and we will protect them,” the CM assured a KP delegation on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Adviser Ameer Muqam led his provincial team to Model Town where he raised concerns with the Punjab CM following reports that the ethnic group was being victimised in the anti-crime operation.

Shehbaz said that no one can be allowed to fan sectarianism for the sake of politics. “Pakistan is all of us and KP, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab are its units and idea of Pakistan is impossible without all these provinces and AJK and GB,” the Punjab CM told the visiting team.

He went on say: “Terrorists have neither religion nor region. They are just terrorists. Elimination of terrorists is the mission of every Pakistan. Those indulging in baseless propaganda are doing no service to Pakistan rather committing enmity to the country.”

“Beautiful amalgamation of KP, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, AJK and GB is the foundation of a beautiful Pakistan,” he said adding that since innocent citizens fell prey to terrorist attacks in Punjab like Gulshan-e-Iqbal explosion and The Mall blast, the government stepped up security to avert such incidents.

He stressed the need for forging unity to fight off terrorism.

Following the meeting, Muqam told the media that Shehbaz assured him of respecting the Pakistanis belonging to any province.

Flanked by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Muqam said the action against terrorists is going on throughout the country without discrimination.  He said the PML-N being a party of federation is watching interest of every Pakistani and its actions are in the interest of making the country peaceful. As to Punjab, he said, this province belongs to every Pakistani.

“The action is not against any ethnic group. There is no motive to gain political mileage such politicisation,” he said.

“We all are Pakistanis and peace is the basis to make us all members of the assembly which follows appointment of the PM or the CM. Nothing will survive without peace,” he said laying stress on developing national thought.

Muqam said the soil of Afghanistan is being used against Pakistan and emphasised the need for forging national unity. He said during meeting with the CM he had also informed him about the reservations expressed by Pakhtuns and he has pledged to respect Pakhtuns as Pakistanis.

CM Shehbaz constituted a committee to address concerns of Pakhtuns anywhere in the province, Muqam said. He also spoke in favour of CPEC.