Pak defence minister Khawaja Asif calls for unity in fight against terrorism

NewsDrum Desk
31 Jan 2023

Islamabad, Jan 31 (PTI) Pakistan’s defence minister on Tuesday urged all political forces of the country to unite against terrorists who are targeting not a sect or particular segment of society but the entire nation.

The statement came a day after the death toll in the terrible suicide bombing in a Peshawar mosque rose to 100, while the attack is being compared with the school bombing of 2014 which had killed around 150 people, mostly students.

Khawaja Asif was asked by journalists outside the parliament building about the possibility of any fresh operation against the militants.

He said that the high-level National Security Committee (NSC) would decide about launching a military operation to eliminate militancy.

"This is a decision that the National Security Committee will take. Such things can be decided at a forum (like the NSC) which is able to take such major decisions," he said.

Later addressing the parliament, he urged all political forces to unite against terrorists who are targeting not a sect or particular segment of society but the entire nation.

"There is a need to create a consensus like (at the time of) the Zarb-e-Azb operation against this kind of terrorism. It is being hoped that the prime minister would take a step in this direction," the defence minister said.

Zarb-e-Azb was launched after the school bombing and it killed and expelled militants Asif said that the latest bombing in Peshawar was no less a tragedy than the 2014 Army Public School massacre and a similar consensus was needed by politicians from all parties.

He also said that Pakistan had suffered over USD 126 billion in economic losses and 83,000 deaths including, armed forces personnel, police officials and others but the world had not acknowledged it.

He accused the previous government of Imran Khan of holding talks with the Taliban.

"Two years ago, we were briefed that we can talk to these people (the terrorists). Later, they were allowed to settle in the country," he said.

He questioned who should be held responsible for the bloodshed in Peshawar where 100 people were killed.

He also said over 450,000 Afghans had been settled in Pakistan as they did not return to their country and had now occupied transport business in Pakistan.

Separately, interior minister Rana Sanaullah addressing the parliament said that a policy would be prepared by the parliament to address the menace of terrorism.

He said the Army chief and the ISI chief would brief the lawmakers.

He also said that past policies were responsible for terrorism plaguing the nation. “We created mujahideen but they have become terrorists,” he said referring to the Afghan jihad against the former USSR.

Giving detail of the Peshawar terrorist attack, Sanaullah said a suicide bomber exploded himself in the mosque, killing 100 people, including 97 police officials and three civilians.

He expressed fear that the death toll can rise as 27 of 216 injured were in critical condition. He said the rescue operation has been completed.

The minister said that the Taliban’s Khurasani group claimed responsibility for the incident. He also made it clear that these terrorist incidents are against Pakistan and not against any region or province of the country. PTI SH AMS

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