ISLAMABAD - Reiterating its resolve to defeat terrorism, the PML-N government Monday asked the opposition in the National Assembly to suggest ways to end the menace instead of engaging in mere blame game every time terrorists strike.
As the house proceedings started the opposition sharply criticised the government as they termed the Islamabad district court’s attack a government failure, adding that now even the parliament and other important places too were not safe anymore. Suspending the order of the day, the assembly debated the Islamabad’s tragedy in which 11 innocent people including a judge were martyred and 29 others injured.
The government side stressed determination to fight terrorism. “Government will make all-out efforts to bring to justice those involved in this incident,’ said Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan. He said he has sent a message to the TTP committee that mere declaration that Taliban had nothing to do with the incident was not enough. As, he said, TTP should condemn it and use its influence to spot the defiant groups from carrying out such acts.
Nisar said there was no magic solution to security problem but government was making all efforts to overcome it. This government, only in six month of its tenure, has given national security policy, he pointed out. He asked the opposition to suggest ways to end the menace instead of engaging in negative criticism. “What kind of support opposition is giving as they term it a failure of government whenever such an incident happens!“ he remarked.
Talking about possible links of terrorist attack on district courts, Nisar said Islamabad police arrested seven alleged terrorists a couple of days before and this could be a retaliatory attack. Secondly, the attackers might have links with the TTP; and thirdly, they could be foreign elements that are against dialogue, he added.
Sharing details of the attack, the minister said: “Three persons having Kalashnikovs entered the courts area and opened indiscriminate firing. One of them was hit by a bullet and he blew himself up as he fell on the ground. “Another also blew himself up while the third fled away. He said at the time of incident‚ 47 police personnel were present on their duty at different pickets and points.
Earlier, initiating the debate on Monday’s attack, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah called it a failure of the government. “This is also an intelligence failure,” he said, asking the reasons why TTP is still not categorically condemning this incident. “TTP should clearly disown and condemn it as well as identify the groups involved in such activities,” he added.
Shah further said government should take sensible steps to save Pakistan from such heinous activities. “Mian Sb should seriously deliberate on it... as this incident has terrorised us (all)... What would happen if parliament came under attack,” he said, stressing the need for reaching on a consensus to deal with the security challenge. He said the government should come out with a clear strategy to tackle the menace of terrorism and the opposition would extend all possible support.
Taking part in debate, PTI lawmaker Shafqat Mehmood said that it was an administrative failure. The security problem has reached to an extent where even courts are not safe, he said, adding that there was dire need for proper police training. Another opposition lawmaker from MQM Farooq Sattar questioned if TTP was not involved in this attack then who was behind it.
“Would government also negotiate with them,” Sattar asked, adding that attack in Islamabad is a clear message that the fight against terror is actually war for survival of Pakistan. “Action should speak louder than words as mere speeches would not work,” he said, adding that Taliban have demonstrated their strength to attack anywhere in the country including the federal capital.
Defending the opposition’s parties criticism, Sheikh Rohail Asghar said government is not confuse and would settle the score of its martyrs. About Taliban, said they have to own this own this attack or stop their terrorist activities. “They have no other option as TTP has claimed of having influence on all groups,” he argued.
Taking the floor, AML chief Sheikh Rashid said that parliament too could be targeted in the given situation. “God forbid (even) Parliament could come under attack,” he said, requesting the chair to hand its security over to rangers. Sheikh said that he was bashed when he had cautioned Benazir Bhutto to avoid holding public gathering in Liaquat Bagh. He pointed out divergence of opinion among the members of government peace committee. “PM should formally head this committee,” he suggested.
PTI lawmaker Javed Hashmi, on his turn, criticised the security measures taken by the government. “Pakistan is not safe...even Aiwan-e-Sadar, PM House are also not safe,” he said, saying that now suicide attackers were even available on rent. Adding his share, a PPP lawmaker Ayaz Soomro proposed a tit-for-tat response for those involved in such heinous activities.