ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has strongly condemned a speech by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Reh­man, in which he claimed that “we are not capable of fighting for 24 hours”.

The minister in a rejoinder on Wednesday termed the Maulana’s remarks as tantamount to “insulting” the martyrs, who had sacrificed their lives in war against terrorism and for the security of the motherland.

“Attacking the national institutions for political reasons is highly reprehensible,” said the minister.

He said the “aging leader” of the JUI-F could not probably bear his “disrespect” at Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and had started talking on issues about which he knew nothing.

Advising the JUI-F chief to avoid giving such “irresponsible statements,” the minister recalled that it was the Maulana who had expressed scepticism about Pakistan’s defence capabilities by stating that the Taliban had reached the hills near the federal capital.

Mr Chaudhry said his “misplaced suspicions” were dispelled by Pakistan’s valiant armed forces and law enforcement agencies by breaking the back of the terrorists.

“It is better for the Maulana not to cast such unfounded doubts on the matters of national interest only to satisfy his political ego,” he said.

“Where was the Maulana when Pakistan had responded to the Indian aggression on February 27, 2019?” he asked in an apparent reference to the downing of an Indian aircraft and the capture of the pilot.

Mr Chaudhry wished that the Maulana should have expressed concern about innocent Kashmiris facing Indian brutalities when his “friend” Nawaz Sharif was embracing his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Raiwind.

Lashing out at the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement, the minister said any alliance, which was ever led by the Maulana till today, could not “fight” for even 12 hours.

The minister’s statement came hours after a speech delivered by Maulana Fazl at a gathering at his residence in which he criticised the chief of the army staff for reportedly holding a “secret briefing” with the TV anchors.

The Maulana had expressed his concern over reports that Pakistan and India were holding secret talks in the UAE. He alleged that Pakistan had adopted a reconciliation policy towards India because the country could not fight with the enemy due to weak economy and later he said that “we cannot fight for even 24 hours”.