K-P Assembly demands inquiry into ATI terrorist attack

PPP lawmaker accuses police of intentionally killing caught terrorist; speaker refutes claim

Sohail Khattak December 05, 2017
A police commando escorts rescued staff members of an Agriculture Training Institute sit in a armoured vehicle after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on December 1, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: Lawmakers in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday demanded an inquiry into the terrorist attack on the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) in Peshawar last week in which at least nine people were killed and 37 injured.

The lawmakers of both the treasury and opposition benches were divided over the role of security forces that took down the terrorists at the institute.

The assembly did not take the agenda items in the sitting instead limited the proceedings to a debate over the attack.

ATI attack brings back horrific memories

On the floor of the house, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Nighat Orakzai said the role of security forces has created unrest among the people. She said a student, who had had a scuffle with one of the terrorists, had told her that “he snatched the weapon from the terrorist and then locked him up in a room, but the terrorist was later killed by the security forces in the room”.

“Why such evidence was destroyed who could have led us to the masterminds of the attack,” she questioned, adding that she herself visited the hospital and met the student who overcame the terrorist and locked him in the room.

Telling her that she was making “a big statement”, Speaker Asad Qaiser asked her whether there was any solid proof or was it just hearsay? “This needs to be properly investigated,” he said.

The K-P ministers were also divided over the issue as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senior Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan said that the issue should be investigated.

“If police could overcome the terrorist and arrest him easily, then why didn’t they? This needs to be investigated,” he said, adding that “it is true that our police have performed very well in the attack”.

Inayatullah asked the speaker to call an in-camera meeting with the police to brief the parliamentary leaders.

He called December the cruellest month in the history of the country as the Fall of Dhaka, Army Public School massacre, and Agriculture Training Institute attack happened in the same month.

Law Minister Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi refuted the statement of the student saying that it was just hearsay, adding that he had the complete report of the police which stated that four to five terrorists who attacked the institute were killed in the fight with the security forces.

The law minister along with other lawmakers, including Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl lawmaker Mufti Said Janan and PPP lawmaker Sardar Fakhr Azam praised and appreciated the role of SSP Operations Sajjad Khan in combating the terrorists and decreasing the damages of the attack which could have been much more.

Mufti Said Janan and Qaumi Watan Party lawmaker Sikandar Sherpao called for the joint effort of all political parties and government institutions to get rid of terrorism.

NATO calls for global coordination to end terror following Peshawar attack

“The issue is getting from bad to worse. We need to have a joint and clear stance on the issue. We need to fight politically against the mindset behind the terrorist activities and we need to stop it,” said Sherpao.

Sardar Hussain Babak of Awami National Party opposed referring to the operation as a success.

“Thirteen people were killed in the attack and still we are paying tributes,” he said, adding that the state, which is responsible for protecting its citizens, should announce that it has failed to fight against this enemy.

The assembly also passed a resolution asking the federal government to make efforts for releasing those Pakistanis who have been jailed in Saudi Arabia during the present crises. PPP lawmaker Sahibzada Sanaullah moved a resolution which was adopted by a majority.

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