- Interior minister says KP government’s response to Peshawar attack appropriate
- Praises Christian leaders for restraining agitated people
- Entire nation one to deal with terrorists
- Opp Leader Shah says nation engaged in fight between ‘humans and beasts’
Presenting his report before the National Assembly on terrorist attack at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday said the federal government was formulising a plan to ensure security at the religious sites across the country, adding that the response of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to the Peshawar Church attack was appropriate and the federal government would extend all possible support to provinces irrespective of the fact which party governed it.
Acknowledging security measures at the church, Nisar said four policemen had been placed for providing security to the faithful at Church by the provincial government. Lauding the restraint observed by the Christian community leaders following the bombing, the interior minister said the prayer leaders and community heads acted responsibly, which reflected that the entire nation was one to deal with the terrorists.
“When angry people had gathered in and around Lady Reading Hospital to protest, the community elders asked them to observe restrain,” he said, adding that this should serve as a lesson for every Pakistani.
The minister said he was at loss of words to witness the mayhem at the blast site and routine condemnations of the terrorists could not serve the purpose. “But condemnations have to be made. People need to exercise restraint. We have to pacify ourselves,” he added.
He added that the federal government had offered the KP government to bear the cost of reconstructing the religious site, while it would also bear the cost for providing rehabilitation to the people who were currently undergoing treatment.
Giving details of the attack, the minister said two suicide bomber blew themselves up, one at the church gate, while the other in the courtyard.
“The situation was heart wrenching. But, the citizens observed sanity and patience and proved that they were a nation fighting terrorism with bravery and courage.”
Nisar announced three day nationwide mourning and said government officials would be meeting leaders of the Christian community within the next three to four days to evolve a national strategy for protection of life and worship places.
Expressing the resolve of the government to track-down the perpetrators of Peshawar suicide bombing with full might, Nisar said they would be brought to justice. “We need to stand united. We need to rise above political affiliations. We have to chase them to the end and bring them to justice,” he said, adding that the incident was an inhuman act that was unacceptable in any society, religion or creed.
“The perpetrators cannot be termed as human beings. Killing one human being is like the killing of the entire humanity.”
“This is good omen that nation and political parties stand united against terrorism. Today, we need to firmly and collectively move forward to root out this menace,” Nisar added.
Earlier‚ the House began discussion on Sunday’s bloodbath in Peshawar. Motion to this effect was moved by Zahid Hamid. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah described the incident as a national tragedy. “We should not indulge into political point-scoring on this issue and rather we should face the challenge collectively. I assure cooperation to the government from opposition at all levels to eliminate terrorism in the country,” he added.
Shah said it was a fight between humans and beasts, adding that the opposition would support the government in its every decision to eliminate the menace. “We have to make our decisions without going weak. Dialogue does not mean bowing before anyone.”
He said Chinese were killed before the prime minister’s visit to China and now Peshawar church blasts took place when the premier left for the US.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the PTI said it was not an attack on any community or group‚ but an attack on Pakistanis.
He said efforts should be made to isolate irreconcilable elements from those who wanted peace.
Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM said his party would stand by the nation to curb terrorism in the country. “We should make the Christian community realise that they are not alone but the entire nation is with them and share their grief.” He said the nation would not accept a specific brand of Islam.
Sahibzada Tariqullah of the JI urged the government to start dialogue with the Taliban as soon as possible. He said KP was the most affected province due to terrorism and strongly condemned the incident.
Taking part in the discussion, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai said no serious effort had yet been made to make Pakistan a country as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He said the country stood at crossroads and the nation had to restructure its society to protect it.
Former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the PML-N said political leaders should speak truth to the nation and humanity should be given priority.
He condemned the tragedy of the PeshawarChurch.
Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani of the JUI-F said since the all-parties conference, no progress had been made for initiating dialogue with the Taliban.
The parliamentarians observed a one-minute silence over the tragedy and wore black armbands to protest against the gory incident.
The National Assembly also adopted a unanimous resolution that strongly condemned the heinous and inhuman attack in Peshawar.
The resolution said the attack was not only against Christians, but against all Pakistanis. It expressed solidarity with the Christian community and sympathised with the bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of the injured.
The resolution demanded the KP government to take all necessary measures to safeguard the rights of the non-Muslims and stressed that all possible facilities should be provided to the injured and security to worship places of all the non-Muslims.