Quetta culprits will be brought to justice: PM

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 6:00:25 by


All eyes were trained on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Monday, as protesters with various concerns surrounded Parliament House awaiting a policy statement over the Quetta carnage. However, much to their chagrin, the premier fell short of making any substantial announcement.

“I assure the nation and the Hazara community that we will go to the last extent, we will never compromise and we will bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the premier, while addressing the National Assembly on Monday.

Responding to concerns raised by a dozen lawmakers over the tragedy in Quetta in which more than 80 people were killed, the prime minister recalled Hazara community’s previous demand of imposing Governor’s rule, assuring “we will fulfill their demands.”

“I have asked the Balochistan Governor in clear words to inform me who was responsible for negligence … action will be taken against them,” he said, adding that an investigation into the incident was underway.

“It is unfortunate that our country and this region has been a victim of terrorism for so long and no one is safe,” said the premier, condemning the incident.

He added that the government and security forces had made every effort and sacrificed their lives to root out the menace of terrorism but added that “we, as a nation have to support and strengthen each other if we want to fight against it.”

Earlier, Bushra Gohar of the Awami National Party (ANP) criticised the prime minister when she was speaking on the incident.

“This is the level of interest that he has. The prime minister has set up office in his house instead of sending a message to the masses that MPs do care about them,” she added.

She also censured the statement of the Balochistan governor that security and intelligence agencies were either incompetent or afraid of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – a banned outfit that claimed responsibility for the Quetta attack. She added that the governor should have resigned instead of making such a statement.

Lawmakers from the ANP staged a walkout in protest when Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi announced that he would take up other items on the agenda of the day. In support of the ANP, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Nadeem Afzal Gondal said, “We have been talking agenda throughout the last five years … let’s discuss this (Quetta incident) issue today.”

The proceedings on the first day of last session of the assembly had begun with discussions and ended with the premier’s statement over the issue but the debate, in which several MPs from government and opposition participated, was not free from the stains of political rivalry.

Sheikh Waqas from the Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid (PML-Q) and Rana Tanveer from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) exchanged harsh words while ignoring the decorum of the house.

“This is time for action, not for speeches, to go against those banned outfits with full force…they should not be given a second chance,” said Waqas.

Referring to the security protocol given by the Punjab government to leaders of  the Sipah-e-Sihaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, he said, “Those supporting them just to secure a few seats in elections are not doing any service to the country.”

Maulana Attaur Rehman and Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao expressed their apprehensions that such incidents were happening to justify the postponement of elections. Both leaders urged the government to make arrangements so that state of uncertainty is addressed and called for the improvement of law and order ahead of elections.

Sheikh Salahuddin of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement censured the government for taking cosmetic measures, such as bans on mobile phones, to address law and order challenges. Later, members of the MQM staged a walkout over the Quetta carnage.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

Quetta News Sources -2

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