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Opposition calls bomb attack 'grave security failure'

04 March, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The government was on Monday severely criticised over the attack at Islamabad district courts, with opposition parties lambasting it for the "grave security failure" in the heart of the federal capital.

However, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan snubbed the opposition, saying political point-scoring on this issue would be great injustice to the government. He asserted that terrorists cannot break the determination of the government to eliminate the menace of terrorism. The House put aside the "order of the day" on the demand of the opposition to debate the latest act of terrorism in Islamabad.

The opposition questioned the security apparatus of the federal capital. An outspoken Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed stated that parliament building would certainly be attacked, saying he had solid information about it. He demanded that security of parliament should be handed over to Rangers in view of police's incapability to handle terrorist threats.

About the attack, Nisar told the House that seven persons have been picked up and the government is working on three possibilities– whether the TTP carried out the attack, whether it is the work of forces opposed to dialogue, and third international connection. The minister pointed out that the district courts were a soft target and protecting them from all sides is not an easy task.

Nisar noted that security forces showed unprecedented courage in the face of the terrorist attack, but they are not well-trained. He hinted that more sacrifices will have to be rendered before the menace of terrorism is completely eradicated. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah deplored the terrorist attack occurred, noting that there were reports of threats to the capital before the attack. But interior minister brushed aside reports in this regard and declared Islamabad a safe city.

Shah called the attack a heinous act and termed it sheer failure of the government and intelligence who, he said, failed to pre-empt it. About the talks with militants, Shah said all political parties were behind the government in this regard.

Meanwhile, in Senate, condemning the gun and suicide bomb attack at a court complex in the capital, the Upper House of parliament on Monday demanded the federal government submit a detailed report today (Tuesday), identifying the persons whose negligence led to this attack.

Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, who also happens to be a lawyer, issued the directives that negligence to ensure security of the court premises should be identified. In the same breath, he sought explanation from the leader of the house to clarify why the National Security Policy which had already been laid in the National Assembly was not placed before the Senate, a move which he decaled was tantamount to ignoring the upper house of parliament.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) denied any role in the attack but majority of the senators saw their involvement in the deadly attack, which left 11 people dead and 29 injured. The expectations of the MPs from armed forces of Pakistan was worth noticing who expected a similar crackdown against the perpetrators like it did in the aftermath of 23 captive FC personals killing. They kept their fingers crossed that armed forces will retaliate in the same spirit as they did in the case of FC personal or else the impression army only spring into action when there is an attack on Khakis and the civilians are left on the mercy of God.

The lawmakers also criticized the government for pursuing the talks with the militants, saying it is hell-bent to hold talks at the cost of bloodshed of innocent people. It is yet to identify who is behind the deadly attacks when Taliban blatantly denying the charge, they lamented. They stressed the need to identify the third force besides insurgents and launch a full-scale military assault to end the mayhem once for all as the country could not afford any more turmoil.

"When government fails, it is bound to call the army in aid of civil administration…the attack on Islamabad is an attack on the whole nation. You have the best army in the world; seek and destroy these enemies of liberal, tolerant and progressive Pakistan of Quaid-i-Azam", said Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement senator from Karachi.

Senator Zahid Khan of Awami National Party (ANP) stated that attack on court complex in which a judge, who refused to entertain an application moved by victims of Lal Masjid – a seminary which has close affiliation with Taliban – was killed, could none other than vengeance. The government has no terror policy and it only acts in reaction to bloody attacks, he said, adding it is clueless about the terror camps, of which majority are located in Punjab province.

Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) blamed the government of breeding the terrorists. He continued that Red Mosque cleric is a tiny government employee, and why he is being linked with seminaries. "Osama bin Laden was picked up from Abbottabad, a city few yards away from military academy Kakool while Shakeel Afridi and Dr Afia Siddiquie also do not come from any seminary and it is the state which needs to clear its direction", he maintained.

He said that the recently unfolded national security policy has three parts which include strategic, operational and secret. This shows the security policy is complete secret and whatever is being projected is complete eyewash, he regretted.

Senator Saeed Ghani of PPP said that Taliban agreed for ceasefire after the government agreed to release their prisoners besides withdrawing a good number of armed forces from some areas of North Waziristan Agency. He demanded that the interior minister to inform the house about the conditions put forth by Taliban before the ceasefire.

End.

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