In a startling admission, a senior minister in Pakistan's Punjab province said the government cannot take legal action against militant groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as the "state itself remained involved" with them.
In an interview to BBC Urdu, Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah was asked why legal action has never been taken against anti-India groups in the province which were close to the "establishment".
"By pro-establishment groups if you mean JuD and JeM, then let me tell you that they have been declared proscribed organisations and they can no longer carry out any activity in the province," he said.
The minister ruled out the possibility of any legal action against the groups saying "How can you prosecute a group with whom the state itself has been involved with?"
India accuses Pakistan of patronising terror groups like JuD and JeM who carry out attacks in the country. Pakistan however denies the charge calling them "non-state actors" who are not in its control.
The candid admission by Sanaullah about the Pakistani state's past ties with JuD and JeM may increase international pressure on the country to act against all militants groups including the Haqqani network active in Afghanistan.