Terrorism will be controlled using all resources, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Friday while addressing an apex committee meeting in Peshawar taking place following the horrific suicide bombing in the city that claimed the lives of more than 100 people.
The meeting is taking place at Governor House. In the meeting, which is being held after 15 months, the Peshawar corps commander, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG and chiefs of other institutions are taking part.
Key decisions are expected to be taken over the law and order situation and terrorism following the tragedy in the provincial capital.
The premier started his address with an acknowledgement of the devastation from the recent attack at a mosque inside highly sensitive police headquarters Police Lines in Peshawar. Research showed it was one of the deadliest terrorism-related incidents in the country’s history where the death toll has crossed triple digits.
The attack took place during afternoon worship. An entire wall and some of its roof was blown out. Bloodied survivors emerged limping from the wreckage, while bodies were ferried away in ambulances.
"It is a sad incident after the APS incident," the premier said.
"We have to accept the facts, the whole nation is in shame. How did this incident happen after the complete end of terrorism a few years ago? The whole nation is thinking [about] how to control this evil in future," he went on.
The drastic security breach in Peshawar came on the day United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had been due to visit Islamabad, although the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather.
The security situation in Pakistan has deteriorated since the return of the Afghan Taliban in Kabul. Islamabad has accused the new rulers of failing to secure their mountainous border, allowing militants to travel back and forth without being detected.
The police headquarters in Peshawar is in one of the most tightly controlled areas of the city, housing intelligence and counter-terrorism bureaus, and is next door to the regional secretariat.
Unwarranted accusations and criticism on social media about the Peshawar incident was unfortunate, the premier said.
“Investigation will take place into the security lapse but to say that it was a drone attack or something else is very inappropriate,” he said.
He called for the federation and provinces should fight the terrorists in the country together. "All the political and religious parties should forget their differences and fight the terrorists," he said, vowing to utilise all the country's resources to eradicate terrorism.
"Speak the truth and hold the responsible accountable for the security lapse. If, God forbid, this was a part of a conspiracy, then what about those incidents that took place in the recent past or in previous years?" asked the PM.
The premier shared that he was confident that it was a terrorist attack.
The premier also dismissed the allegations that the centre was not providing assistance when when incidents took place in Bannu, Nowshaera, Mardan, Peshawar or in other cities of KP.
"In the last cabinet meeting, I, with no fiction but facts, shared the details about the funds given to the KP government," said PM Shehbaz.
The PM reminded that in 2010, everyone willingly decided in a meeting that was held in Lahore that 1% of the NFC will go to KP before any deduction as the province was the frontline state in the war against terrorism.
"All the provinces agreed to the then-KP chief minister Amir Hader Hoti's proposal for the funds without any question. Without giving a second thought. Approximately Rs417 billion were given to KP. Where the money has gone?" asked the PM
The PM also lamented that the PTI government’s failure to launch Punjab-like safe city and forensic lab projects.
As we speak, an IMF delegation is in Islamabad and giving a very tough time to the finance minister and his team, the PM said.
"I will not go into detail about this further but our economic challenges are unimaginable. The IMF conditions which we have to fulfil are beyond imagination but we have to do it," said the PM.
He also called for an audit of Rs417 billion given to the province. Had, half of the amount been spent, the people of this province must have been having a peaceful sleep.
"Terrorists have no country, no religion, no faith"
The premier said that Pakistan was carved out of India to become a leading nation, adding that if they do not act against terrorism now then, history will not forgive them.
"You [PTI] were ready to resettle who were shedding blood but not ready to shake hands for the sake of the nation. The double standard will not work now," said PM Shehbaz.
The premier also confirmed that he had extended an invitation to his predecessor Imran Khan for an all parties conference.
"I have also invited the leader of a political party who was not willing to shake hands with me. We now have to raise above personal likes and dislikes," said the premier.
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) minister Shaukat Yousufzai had told Geo News that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had received the invitation for the meeting, however, they would be skipping the huddle.
“We cannot sit with those who are taking vengeful acts against us,” said Yousufzai.
The former KP minister said that the “on one side, there were bodies of the martyrs" and on the other side the federal government was asking the PTI details about the Rs417 billion dispersed to it to fight terror.
Yousufzai also alleged that the federal government had stopped giving the fund to the KP government, adding that the government was not serious.
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