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Killing of innocent people in terror acts beyond reason: Rashid

19 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday killing of innocent people in terrorist incidents was beyond reason and such attacks should be condemned by everybody.

Talking to a private news channel here, he said terrorism was an issue for all Pakistanis and not just for media as even today educational institutions and places of religious worship were not safe.

The minister said the attack on the staff of a private TV channel was a tragic incident and nobody could tell the fault of three individuals who lost their lives leaving behind families in mourning for the rest of their lives.

These people were performing their professional duties and were not among those who are policy makers or were responsible for drone attacks in Pakistan, he added. He said, "Media-men lead their lives peacefully, covering events like earthquakes and conveying information to the people." It was the responsibility of the government to protect people and the Prime Minister had instructed him and the Interior Minister to hold meetings with the representative media organizations to discuss ways and means to protect journalists, so they could perform their duties freely, he added.

The minister said he came to visit the aggrieved news channel to demonstrate solidarity as a representative of the government and as a Pakistani, and it was indeed a collective responsibility of all. He said although journalists, in the past, had complaints that they were not allowed to work freely but attacks like these had never occurred in Pakistan.

There were some restrictions then, but now the country had a free and independent media and there were no more such complaints. "Now the Pakistani society and journalists are facing another kind of threat i.e. terrorism and we have to see how to make Pakistan a safe country," he added.

He appealed to the perpetrators of attacks to spare journalists, schools and places of worship. He said dealing with terrorism was the top priority of the government. "We have to take the nation along on the issue. There has been a consensus among the political parties for holding dialogue. The option of talks is not exhausted and efforts continue in this direction," the minister emphasised. Even the government was criticized for not having successful talks, he said.

"We will request Imran Khan and Munawar Hassan to convince these people to stop playing with the lives of those, who have nothing to do with this matter." These leaders too should ask the terrorists what was the fault of innocent people killed in attacks, he added.

He mentioned that due to steps of the government many terrorists had been arrested, huge amounts of explosives recovered and laws further strengthened to prosecute those elements. The minister underlined the need for unity against terrorism and said the nation and media were determined to stand up against the menace. "This is a war between those, who want chaos and those, who want peace," he said.

End.

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