MPs ask government to take 'final decision' on terrorists
24 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Monday mourned the church attack in Peshawar by condemning it through a unanimously adopted resolution.
The legislators termed the attack against the Christian community as heinous and brutal, and some voices called upon the government to take a final decision against the terrorists. The House, however, looked divided, with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) emphasising taking a defensive position against the terrorists instead of showing weakness.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam of Fazlur Rehman advocated dialogue process to be taken forward for the sake of peace in the country.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, while declining to talk extensively on the responsibility of the church attack, vowed to take its perpetrators to task and pleaded that the resolution of the All-Parties Conference (APC) should not be distorted in view of this incident. Nisar told the House that a meeting of the Christian leaders is being convened within the next few days to evolve a national-level plan for the security of places of worship and resolution of other problems of the minorities.
He said the repair of the Peshawar church would be carried out at government s expense. The minister said one militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack but he cast suspicion on the claim of responsibility, saying the group has no presence in the region. He said one hundred and thirty-seven people were injured in the attack and ten of them were in critical condition. Nisar assured the House that the perpetrators of this terrorist attack will be traced and brought to justice.
He said a policy‚ plan and infrastructure would be prepared for the security of the places of worship. "We should give a message of unity on this occasion and should not do politics on such kind of tragedies," Nisar said, adding that joint efforts were needed to counter the terrorists.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah announced to give the mandate to the government to take a final decision on the issue of terrorism. However, he called upon the government not to take a weak stance that would strength the terrorists. He assured the government that opposition would not do political point-scoring on this issue.
PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi commended the attack but advocated for the dialogue process to move ahead. MQM's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui urged decisive action against terrorism, arguing any delay would strengthen the hands of the militants.
World seeks action against terrorists
Different countries of the world as well as the United Nations and the European Union condemned the attack on a church in Peshawar and asked the government to take action against the terrorists.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the suicide attack at a church in Peshawar, saying "it is yet another deeply disturbing manifestation of the evil forces of terror". In a statement, Singh said such barbaric acts are against the tenets of every religion. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Andrew Bennett, Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom, also condemned the attack.
He issued the following statement: "Canada strongly condemns today's terrorist attack on worshippers at the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan… . Canada calls on Pakistani authorities to bring these perpetrators to justice and to protect those who seek to worship in peace, free from fear and intimidation."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also strongly condemned Sunday's "atrocious" terrorist attack on the church and called on the government to bring the perpetrators to justice. A statement issued by UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the secretary general was "appalled" by the attack. The United Nations in Pakistan also strongly condemned the attack.
"This violent act, targeting defenceless minorities, is totally unacceptable. We are horrified by this act of brutality and extend our condolences to the families of the deceased and the wounded. We reaffirm our strongest commitment to protecting the rights of all minorities for them to freely exercise their rights." said Timo Pakkala, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Pakistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the coordinated suicide attacks. In a statement issued on Monday by the presidential palace, President Karzai said, "Such attacks which targets innocent civilians, reflects enmity with the humanity." On behalf of the American people, US Ambassador Richard Olson extended heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of Sunday's attack. Japan expressed shock and sadness over the terrorist attack.
In a statement EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said, "I am appalled by the terrorist attack on the All Saints Church in Peshawar yesterday... We call on the government of Pakistan to take stronger action to ensure the protection of all its citizens ... regardless of their religion or belief," she said. Acting Australian High Commissioner Paul Molloy condemned the terrorist attack as a horrific and senseless act of violence.