ISLAMABAD, Aug 8 (APP): Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) from both sides of the aisle on Monday strongly condemned the Quetta suicide blast and expressed the resolve to wipe out the scourge of terrorism with unity.
Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Baligur Rehman, after offering Fateha for the departed souls of the blast victims, informed the House that the suicide bomber blew himself up at a local hospital in Quetta where people and lawyers had gathered after Balochistan Bar President Bilal Anwar Kasi was brought there after being attacked at
Munawar Jan Road in the morning.
So far 69 people had been confirmed killed and over 100 injured, he added.
Initiating debate on the horrific incident, after suspension of agenda, Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary leader Syed Naveed Qamar said it was high time to crush the terrorists who were striking in every part of the country. “We get united only when any terrorist incident takes place,” he regretted.
He said the 20-point National Action Plan (NPA) was worked out in an all parties conference after the Army Public School (Peshawar) attack, but unfortunately it was not implemented and the government could not take measures accordingly undermining the resolve to wipe out terrorism from the country.
He said,”Even today we back the government to overcome the challenge of terrorism, which should utilize its all energies and go after the planners and executors of such heinous attacks.”
He said more funds, if needed, should be allocated to break the back of terrorists. He, however, underlined the need for addressing the root-causes of terrorism, besides forging renewed commitment against the menace as a resilient from the current tragedy Abdul Qadir Baloch of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said this was a barbaric attack, which was highly condemnable. There was a need to forge unity “in our ranks to crush terrorism”.
It was not the responsibility of the government only but each individual should reject the menace of terrorism, he added.
Baloch stressed that there was a need to address root-causes of terrorism and extremism. Religious leaders should play their role by spreading the true teachings of Islam, which was a religion of peace and brotherhood, he added.
He said there should be no political point-scoring over such issues.”We should fully back the government to defeat terrorism, which is affecting all the provinces of the country.”
Baloch urged the opposition political parties and religious leaders to launch a physchological campaign to create rejection of terrorism in the minds of youth. The government would welcome suggestions from them in this regard, he added.
Dr Shereen Mazari of Pakistan tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) condemned the attacks and said the APS tragedy should have waken up the nation., The government, she alleged, could not toke follow-up measures as per the National Action Plan and that was why, such acts of terrorism were occurred.
She said foolproof security system should have been devised, which could not have been breached by the terrorists. “If we could not operationalize a proper plan against terrorists then such attacks will continue to take place.”
She said the terrorists, who carried out such acts, were not human. The government should make more effective efforts while reinforcing security arrangements, besides implementing the 20-point agenda against terrorism in letter and spirit.
Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamaat-i-Islami said such incidents had been taking place for the last 15 years. Quetta was once again under attack and there was bloodbath there, he added.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to crush terrorism “as we all have extended our full support to it in this regard.”
He recalled when Indian spy was arrested in Balochistan, only Interior Minister and later Army officials mentioned the incident.
Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani of JUI-F condemned the Quetta’s blast and alleged that the West was united against the Muslims and had waged a war against them.
The West first themselves promoted terrorism in various regions of the world and now was using the countries under its sway to crush the menace of terrorism, he added.
Abdul Waseem of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said the Quetta blast was a tragic incident. The NA had already done legislation to cope with the menace but unfortunately it could not be implemented in letter and spirit, he added.
He said the operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in light of the legislation. He demanded implementation of all 20 points of NAP in letter and spirit.
Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of Awami National Party said such situation always arose when non-political people started making decisions on behalf of the elected ones. All the Muslim countries, he said, were victims of terrorism.
He called for establishing good relations with neighbouring countries to cope with terrorism and bring peace and tranquillity in the country.
Muhammad Ayaz Soomro of PPP called for joining hands to eliminate the menace. A conference should be convened to devise a joint strategy for preventing such gruesome incidents to occur, he added.
He requested the federal and provincial governments to strengthen intelligence agencies, besides enhancing effective coordination among various agencies.
He termed the tragic incident a conspiracy against democracy and democratic institutions. He demanded to provide facilities to the people at grossroots level to foil such conspiracies.
Khalid Hussain Magsi of PML-N said,”We should not blame each other
and should take ownership to curtail such incidents.” Such conspiracies could be foiled through unity, he added.
Dr Arif Alvi of PTI said it was wrong to say the nation was not united against terrorism. A plan was made during the All Parties Conference to purge the country of the terrorists, he recalled.
He said,”We are in a good position to make counter narrative against terrorism.” Religious leaders should play their due roles in that regard, he added.
Taking part in the debate, Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha said the Quetta blast had refreshed the bitter memories of Army Public School.
Expressing grief and sorrow, he said when Pakistan started its journey towards economic prosperity such an incident occurred.
He said law and order situation was responsibility of the federal government but after the passage of 18th Amendment, the Centre could not directly interfere in law and order situation of any province.
He said soon after the APS attack, All Parties Conference was convened to devise a joint strategy to eliminate the scourge of terrorism as maintenance of law and order was responsibility of the provinces under the 18th Amendment.
He said millions of dollars were spent on media houses in Afghanistan to malign Pakistan.
Mohsin Ranjha said NAP should be reviewed and its province-wise performance should be evaluated.
Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao of Awami Watan Party said NAP was planned to stop reoccurrence of such tragic incidents.
He said two APCs were hold after APS attack to cope with such situation. The menace could not be addressed without proper focusing on it. The terrorists were targeting soft targets as their network in Waziristan had been dismantled after the military operation.
Aftab said civilian and security agencies could play due role in this regard as it was a continuous war and the terrorists had sleeping cells in the entire country who always hit soft targets.
He also called for revisiting Nation Action Plan as its some points were not implemented.
He said if the issue was not properly addressed, it would be detrimental to foreign investment in the country.
Shah Jee Gul Afridi of FATA said tribal people left their native areas in the wake military operation launched there to purge the country of terrorists. The FATA people rendered supreme sacrifices for future of the country as they were dislocated from their areas, he added.
He called for revisiting the foreign policy, besides establishing good relations with neighbouring countries.
Later, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab moved a motion to suspend a private member day on Tuesday and continued debate on Quetta tragedy.
Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi adjourned the session till Tuesday morning after adopting the motion.