Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan lashed out at his critics on Saturday, saying it is unfair to link everything to Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, chief of the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ).
He was addressing criticism from the PPP for allegedly maintaining friendly ties with the ASWJ chief.
"Which PPP leader did not meet leaders of proscribed organisations in their time?" he asked while talking to media representatives in Kallar Syedan, a sub-district of Rawalpindi.
He said people with links to terrorist organisations were eliminated, jailed or had fled abroad, but members of groups proscribed on sectarian grounds "who have no cases against them" still reside in the country.
"How is it fair to link everything to Maulana Ludhianvi?"
Scholars Sajid Naqvi and Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi could not be linked to terrorist organisations but their organisations were still "proscribed on sectarian basis", he said.
He asked what was wrong in saying the Shia-Sunni conflict dated back 1300 years and is a part of the Islamic history.
Responding to criticism of his remarks in the Senate that outlawed sectarian organisations should not be equated with those of terrorist outfits, Nisar asked whether it was "a crime" to suggest that separate laws should be formed to deal with groups proscribed on sectarian basis to remedy the "confusion being created".
The minister's remarks that some organisations were purely terrorists while some had clash on sectarian lines had prompted the opposition to walk out of Senate in protest on Tuesday.
'Efforts on to recover activists'
Answering a question about the disappearance of five civil society activists in the past week, he said efforts were being made to recover all missing men so they could return to their families.
He said a missing report had been filed for only Salman Haider's disappearance from Islamabad while the other reports were filed in Lahore. He said incidents of disappearances take time to be resolved.
The minister said a meeting was held to discuss the future of military courts but no decision has been taken so far as opposition parties have sought more time to ponder.
He said the main objective was to continue with a fast-track system of taking terrorists to their logical ends, adding that the matter of military courts would become clear in a few days.