Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday categorically said that those who kill innocent people are terrorists.
In a tweet, the minister said that there was "no confusion at any level" regarding those who kill innocent people. "That is terrorism and the perpetrators are terrorists. We have suffered the pain of terrorism in our own land and can understand the pain of all who have lost their loved ones in these cowardly attacks."
Chaudhry's remarks come a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi refrained from calling Osama bin Laden a terrorist in an interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo News.
When the interviewer quoted Prime Minister Imran Khan as calling Osama bin Laden a “martyr”, Qureshi said: “Well, again. Out of context. He [the PM] was quoted out of context. And, a particular section of the media pair it up.”
Asked if he would disagree, the foreign minister paused for a while and then said: “I will let it pass.”
Last year, PM Imran had delivered an all-encompassing speech in the parliament. Speaking about the country's relations with the United States, he had said Pakistan had to face a lot of "humiliation" despite supporting Washington in the 'war on terror' and was then blamed for the US's failures in Afghanistan.
Recalling an incident that he said caused "embarrassment" to Pakistan, the premier had said: "The Americans came to Abbottabad and killed, martyred Osama bin Laden. What happened after that? The entire world cursed at us and spoke ill of us."
At the time, the opposition had lambasted the premier for his remarks. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that Imran's remarks were consistent with "his history of appeasement to violent extremism".
"It is during his government that those involved in APS Army Public School] attack 'escaped' & those involved in Daniel Pearl's murder get relief. Running with the hare & hunting with the hound," he had said.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman had said that Pakistan was still a victim of terrorist attacks due to Osama Bin Laden. "Because of him the country is in such a state and you are presenting him as a hero on the assembly floor?"
She had said that Imran's words would go down in history. "Remember that Osama Bin Laden can be the PM's hero but not the nation's. He was and will remain a criminal of the state and the people."
However, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill had defended PM Imran, saying he had twice used the word “killed” for bin Laden (in addition to martyred).
"An unwarranted attempt is being made at home/abroad with a clear intent to make his remarks controversial unnecessarily," he had said, saying the prime minister's commitment against terrorism is "unwavering".