The first major terrorist attacks to take place in the tenure of the PML-N government may have occurred in Balochistan, but they resonated all the way through Islamabad, where Parliament was in session.
“We are hearing news that some barbarians have targeted and killed our innocent daughters, university students in Quetta. Terrorism, no doubt, is our biggest problem,” said Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief and Member National Assembly (MNA) Mehmood Khan Achakzai, interrupting the budget session proceedings.
He strongly condemned the attacks and the loss of life, and asked the the federal government to confirm the news. Many other members of the assembly suggested adjourning the budget proceedings but the session went on as the government officials said the concerned departments were already dealing with the situation in Quetta.
In the Senate, all parties unanimously passed a resolution strongly condemning the attack on Quaid-i-Azam’s residency in Ziarat. The resolution was moved by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and was endorsed by members from across the aisle as well.
On receiving the news of terrorist attack on Bolan Medical Complex (BMC), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to provide maximum support to the Balochistan government through federal law enforcement agencies and all other available means.
The prime minister also telephoned Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and assured him that the federal government stands by the people and government of Balochistan, said a statement released by PM office.
“The perpetrators of the Quetta bomb blasts are enemies of Balochistan and Pakistan,” said the PM while asking Dr. Baloch “to show courage and patience in this testing time”.
Expressing complete confidence in the leadership of Dr Baloch, the Prime Minister said ‘you will come up to the trust people have reposed in your leadership by electing you as their Chief Minister through consensus.’
The prime minister also condemned the attack on the Quaid’s residency in Ziarat, resulting in the partial destruction of the historical monument where the Founder of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, spent the last days of his life.
“All measures would be taken to ensure the safety and security of such national assets and heritage,” said Nawaz.
President Asif Ali Zardari and all party heads and members of parliament condemned the terrorist acts.
Expressing profound grief over the loss of many precious lives, including Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mansoor Kakar due to cowardly and inhuman acts of the miscreants, said a statement released by President House.
In a statement released by the President House, Zardari expressed his heartfelt sympathies for the bereaved families. He paid tributes to the martyred DC Abdul Mansoor Kakar who sacrificed his life while performing his duty, the statement added.
He also directed the concerned officials to provide best possible medical assistance to the injured.
Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and the attack on Quaid-e-Azam’s residency. “Targeting innocent people is a cowardly act andiscondemnable in the strongest words,” said Fazl in a statement.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal also condemned both attacks. Speaking to journalists outside parliament house, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said it was too early to suggest the involvement of foreign elements in the attacks. “It would be wrong to suggest at this point in time that foreign elements attacked Balochistan,” said the information minister adding that a thorough probe was ordered and it would soon ascertain the facts.
He added that the government was willing to begin peace talks with the militants whenever they were ready for it.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2013.