PM Nawaz orders action against 'hatemongers'
21 November, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday talked tough on Muharram 10 violence in Rawalpindi that killed a dozen people and injured more than 50, charging the law enforcement agencies with 'criminal inaction' over 'unacceptable crimes'.
"Speech inciting hatred, firing, torching properties, stone pelting and killing innocent people are unacceptable crimes. Criminal silence of administration as well as police on the propagation of sectarian hatred through loudspeakers and graffiti cannot be tolerated," Nawaz told a meeting called at the Prime Minister's House to review post-violence situation. He ordered an immediate ban on wall chalking as well as use of loud speakers for hate speech in the country.
The prime minister said what happened in Rawalpindi was 'criminal negligence' and law enforcement agencies should not have shown such slackness. "Police should have taken pre-emptive action to avert the incident," he said.
The prime minister made it clear that any one-sided action by the administration would not be tolerated. He directed police to fix responsibility by holding a fair and neutral investigation into the Rawalpindi incident. "Hate speeches and killing people are equally criminal. I want strict action against those who have no regard for law and order," he told the meeting.
The prime minister also came hard on social media and accused it of playing 'negative role' during the clashes. He directed the authorities concerned to prepare a draft cyber law to tackle such matters 'within days'.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Khan Baig admitted the failure of local police authorities as he briefed the meeting over the Rawalpindi incident. The IGP said the deadly violence had claimed lives of at least 11 people besides injuries to 56 others. "All deaths resulted due to use of firearms," the IGP said, as he rejected claims that several people were missing after the incident.
Baig said police had arrested nine 'perpetrators' of the incident. He said the arrests were made after their identification with the help of CCTV as well as video footages obtained from media organisations.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Law Law Rana Sanaullah, DG ISI Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam, DG IB Aftab Sultan attended.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) on Wednesday urged speedy and fair trial of those responsible for the killing of innocent people in Rawalpindi last Friday.
Addressing a press conference at the National Press Club, PUC Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi called for arresting all the culprits. He announced that a "Condemnation Day" will be observed on November 22 to denounce the plans of some evil forces to fuel sectarian hatred in the country. He called for imposing a ban on the use of loud speakers in mosques and sacred places of all religions. T
he PUC will appear before the judicial commission set up over the Rawalpindi incident and provide evidence, he added. Ashrafi said the whole nation was expecting the religious scholars to play their role in restricting hate material. He appealed to ulema and mashaikh belonging to all schools of thought to show tolerance and acceptance, and create an atmosphere of harmony and understanding.
"The enemies of Ummah and Islam had succeeded to strike only because of slackness on the part of the local administration," said Ashrafi, who is also a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology.
"To prevent the flames of sectarianism and hatred flare up any further all of us need to make every effort to calm down the emotions." He appealed to the people to show restraint and not get swayed by any kind of adverse instigation or incitement to resort to violence. He said a counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation be launched forthwith to eliminate the terrorists.