Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday called out to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to quit terrorism in the name of Islam, holding the militant group accountable for the first time in a public speech.

“I explicitly take their name and call out to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. If you carry out this terrorism in the name of Islam, then you couldn’t be greater enemies of the religion,” Khan told a press conference in Islamabad, naming the feared militant group for the first time.

The PTI chief’s press conference follows a deadly bombing in Quetta claiming 84 lives, with most victims belonging mostly to the ethnic Hazara Shia community. It was the second deadly blast in the city in little over a month, with an earlier attack claiming 93 lives, also mostly Hazaras.

Both attacks were claimed by the feared militant group LeJ.

“Islam is the religion of peace. Attacking innocent civilians is outright terrorism,” he said.

Critics have previously blamed Khan of not explicitly naming religious militants while condemning terrorism incidents, with detractors calling him ‘Taliban Khan’ for his advocacy of peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

Speaking to the media, Khan supported the demand of Hazara protestors for the deployment of Army in the provincial capital. He demanded that the culprits of the deadly bombing be brought to justice.

Khan also urged the chief justice to immediately take suo motu notice of the Quetta tragedy.

Terming immediate elections as the only solution to Pakistan's problems, the PTI chairman further said that if mid-term elections had been held, the situation would not be as gloomy.