KARACHI: An all parties' conference (APC) demanded of the government to shun the policy of differentiating between the 'good and bad' militants and take action across the board in order to restore peace in the country.
The conference, titled 'Peaceful Sindh, Peaceful Pakistan', was convened by Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) and Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) at the residence of Shah Owais Noorani of JUP on Thursday. Condemning the recent wave of terrorism and attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, the politicians stressed the need to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) in letter and spirit.
"There is no independent foreign policy and permanent minister, which is the reason we have failed in advocating against countries like India and Afghanistan who are involved in recent attacks," said Qaumi Awami Tehreek's Ayaz Latif Palijo. According to him, Pakistan is under attack and is being punished due to stabilisation in the country. "We cannot end terrorism if we don't curb corruption," Palijo asserted. "We must stop being a mercenary."
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He said the people of the country will stand by the security forces if the recent operation initiated does not discriminate in the elimination of terrorism. He urged the importance of strengthening criminal justice system to try militants in courts. He was of the view that the state first encouraged Pashtuns to wage Jihad and suddenly declared them terrorists, resulting in their retaliation.
Talking about the Sehwan shrine bombing, he said that only 24 people died in the blast while the death toll increased due to non-availability of transportation and medical facilities nearby.
The leaders demanded at the conference that the government should build a 1,000-bed hospital in every district and a 100-bed hospital with an ICU ward in every taluka. They added that 7,000 schools and college, which have remained closed, should be made functional.
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"Pakistan cannot eliminate terrorism by adopting the methods of terrorists,” Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Executive Director Karamat Ali asserted. “The only way the state can end [terrorism] is through rule of law. We need to stop hate speech that is delivered in sermons to settle personal scores."
According to Ali, Rangers or Army cannot be a solution to every problem and we must strengthen the police. He pointed out that protecting humans is different from protecting borders.
Faisal Vawda of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was of the view that it is high time to eliminate terrorists in the interest of our coming generation. According to him, even the children have come to know about the ‘script of drama writers dealing with the militants’.
JUP’s Noorani said the government needs to de-weaponise the country from Karachi to Khyber. "We have still been sowing the seeds of what [late Gen] Zia[ulHaq] has given to Pakistan," he said, adding that there is no religion of any terrorist and we must treat them as criminals. He asserted that shrines must be handed over to Rangers throughout Pakistan.
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Speaking on the occasion, former chief minister Liaqat Jatoi said the current government is ‘bogus’ and we need to eliminate Zardari and Sharif, who have legalised corruption in the country.
Sarwat Aijaz Qadri of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek asked who will stop political terrorism in the country. "The government must not the treat the citizens of Pakistan as their subjects," he said.
Awami National Party's Younus Buneri maintained the government must eliminate terrorism without any discrimination. Pakhtuns are not terrorists and we need to change our thinking, he asserted.
MPA Arif Jatoi was of the view that we cannot protect the country until our frontiers are not protected. "We need to check all the entrants to Pakistan and have to educate people on a war footing on how to end terrorism.”