KARACHI: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday said that the government will utilise all available resources to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Data Darbar attacks.
Speaking to media outside Gangaram Hospital in Lahore, the chief minister said he has directed top officials of law-enforcement agencies to make all possible efforts to arrest the culprits. He also appealed to the people to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in this endeavour. Also, the Punjab government has announced compensation of Rs500,000 for the families of each victim and Rs75,000 for the injured.
Punjab Governor Salman Taseer also visited the injured who have been admitted to Mayo Hospital. Talking to the media during his visit, Taseer said that it is the duty of the provincial government to ensure security in the province. He said terrorists cannot dent the government’s determination to fight terror, and that the nation stands united. The governor said the provincial government was warned about the attack, but the Punjab chief minister failed to take appropriate action. He also criticised the Punjab government for supporting banned organisations in the province. The governor however praised the hospital administration for providing timely medical treatment to the victims.
Meanwhile, former president Pervez Musharaf has reportedly said that the country should unite against terrorism. Condemning the attacks at Data Darbar, he said that no Muslim could do this. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti also condemned the attacks. According to a statement, the minister termed the terrorist attacks “an act of cowardice against innocent people.” In separate messages, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar and Minister for Gilgit-Baltistan Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo also condemned Thursday’s attacks. Similar statements were issued by Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza and Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi while the MQM has announced to observe Saturday as black day to mourn the act of terrorism.
Commenting on the incident, senior minister Punjab Raja Riaz Ahmad said that the entire country stands united against terrorism while Federal Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said that by attacking such a revered shrine, terrorists have made it clear that they have no consideration for any religion, faith or belief.
Condemning the attacks, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said it is time for the Punjab government to take decisive action against terrorists. Addressing a seminar in Peshawar, the minister said attacks on Data Darbar were aimed at creating a rift between different factions. He said that the Khyber-Pakhtukhwa government had tracked down terrorists, destroyed their networks and now it’s the duty of the courts to deliver justice.
Also on Friday, protests were taken out across the country against the suicide attacks on Data Darbar. The Sunni Tehreek took out a rally in Karachi demanding early arrest of the people involved in the attacks. Jamiat-e-Ulema Pakistan, Markazi Jamat-e-Ahl-e Sunnat and Anjuman-e-Sarfaroshan protested in Hyderabad. In Lahore, workers of different religious parties protested outside the shrine. The protestors said citizens are left at the mercy of terrorists, while politicians are safe in fortified zones.
Talking to Express 24/7, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi said, “Militants want to disrupt the war against terrorism and that is why they are carrying out these attacks. Terrorists are trying to create sectarian conflict in the country. ”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2010.
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