Rare show of unity: Leaders vow to avenge Peshawar massacre

Published: December 18, 2014
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference after the all parties conference. PHOTO: PID

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference after the all parties conference. PHOTO: PID


Setting aside their political differences, Pakistan’s political leadership on Wednesday vowed to avenge the dastardly massacre of 148 people at the Peshawar school and eliminate every single terrorist ‘without discrimination’.

“We have decided to draft a national plan of action against terrorists and act upon it immediately,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while reading out decisions taken at a meeting of heads of all parliamentary parties at the Governor’s House in Peshawar.

“We have unanimously decided that a committee under Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will prepare a national plan of action against terrorism and present its report to the national leadership within seven days,” he announced. “This plan will be presented before the people of Pakistan after the approval of the political leadership.”

The committee will comprise members from all parliamentary parties and representatives from the armed forces and intelligence agencies.

“We announce that there will be no differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban. We also resolve to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated from the country,” the premier added.

Prime Minister Nawaz termed the murder of students and staffers at the Army Public School and College in Peshawar “a cowardly move by terrorists on the run as a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.”

“We express deep grief over the Peshawar tragedy. This violence has no match in the history of Pakistan,” he said.

Backing the decision to launch full-scale offensives against militants in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency, the prime minister said, “We have all seen the results of dialogue with the Taliban. We could not achieve anything through dialogue and then the Karachi airport was attacked.”

He reiterated his government’s resolve to carry out the ongoing operations against terrorists with ‘a clear mind and determination’.

At the same time, Nawaz stressed the need for taking stern action against militants across the country and not just in the tribal areas.

“Operation Zarb-e-Azb is continuing successfully but we need to draft a plan of action to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the whole country.”

He added that although the operation had yielded positive results, some militants had fled to Afghanistan. “We want peace not only in Pakistan but in Afghanistan as well. We want peace in the whole region,” the PM said.

Nawaz admitted that the prosecution of arrested militants was a big challenge.  “There should not be any space for hardcore terrorists to escape punishment.”

Regarding the decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism cases, the prime minister said, “If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?”

Nawaz, Imran shake hands

At the news briefing held after the meeting of heads of all parliamentary parties, Premier Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan engaged in a rare handshake as a gesture of unity following the Peshawar tragedy.

The prime minister, who was sitting next to the PTI chief, thanked the latter for attending the meeting. “I’m thankful to Imran Khan for attending this meeting and I’ve invited him over for tea,” he said, adding that “all issues can be resolved through dialogue in a democracy.”

Nawaz also said that he had written to the chief justice of regarding the formation of a judicial commission.

In response to this, however, Imran said, “Our differences are not about our egos, they are about poll rigging.”

“The nation has to unite because the military cannot win this war alone,” he said, adding that he would fully back the government in the fight against terrorism.

The PTI chief added that he would go directly to his container from his conference to offer funeral prayers in absentia for the victims. At that point, Nawaz remarked in a lighter vein that he had to “visit the injured children at the hospital otherwise I would have gone to the container with Imran.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Confused
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:57AM

    Sounds grand .. but I would argue that this is yet another opportunity squandered. One more speech in a long line of speeches and one more committee in a long line of worthless committees. If you can’t get the political elite of Pakistan to come up with a few concrete steps to address this extremism after the slaughter of your children I fear there is no hope for Pakistan.


  • Careful reader
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:17AM

    It’s Time for the military to crush these militants with ruthless force, even if it means hot pursuit into Afghanistan. And these criminals should be put through quick court-martials and sentenced to death rather then have their cases dismissed by civilian courts.


  • Dec 18, 2014 - 6:50AM

    Finally, really??

    Let’s see.


  • ak
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:36AM

    nice gesture by PM and IK.


  • sabi
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:21AM

    You parliamentarians show that you have some vision some courage left.Do away with fascist laws of Zia and save our souls.If you don’t grab the opportunity you will be lost.


  • Asim Ali
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:01AM

    Another committee? These politicians are hollow. And you cant change that. Lets accept this reality and have a plan to remove these as soon as possible


  • Mujtahid
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:03AM

    I deeply mourn the killing of the school children, most innocent of the humanity. I have no language as to how to condemn the dastardly act by the Talibanis hordes in the name of Islam. If this Islam in the name of which you are free to kill by shouting Allah Ho Akbar, we don’t need this Islam

    In the name of the dead children and their teachers killed in the school I urge all political parties in Pakistan ( Save and accept the Jamaat i Isalmi) to stand united and rise against the enemies committing against humanity. .

    It is about time that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and all others to realize why Bangladesh is fighting against the forces of darkness and the enemies who committed crimes against humanity in our soil and still are active and led by the Jaamat i Islami .

    It is high time that Pakistan also should institute a Tribunal for trying the enemies who have committed and are continuing to commit Crimes Against Humanity in Pakistan as well.in the name of Islam like Bangladesh.

    Newaz Sharif and Imran Khan , human beings with modern day outlook should not have any hesitation to shake hands and stand tall on this trying circumstances. Pakistan is burning for many decades and it is time they should unite to extinguish the fire once and for all.


  • Dec 18, 2014 - 11:15AM

    Words of politicians flow very freely. Then there is an altercation and a clarification follows. And all what was before, is resumed. LET’S SEE. Salams


  • A Peshawary
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:16AM

    Do not fools us anymore. American and Indian leadership have shown resolve of nation after 9/11 and Bombay attack. It is just an other photo session on the funeral of young innocent souls and nothing more than that.

    A Peshawary


  • Dr.M.M. Khan
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:36PM

    Dear Mr PM,

    This is first time ever you have the country in the palm of your hands. Act resolutely! Let it not be said you did not prove equal to the task. We need leadership and not committees.


  • ishrat salim
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:15PM

    Too little too late. Had these politicians had a will, TODAY many lives would have been alive. They had spent 2 weeks calling APC in the Parliament discussing dharnas, but in this case only 1 day. That is the kind of priority they have & I feel shame to call them our leader. They should have continued till final touches given to NACTA, NISP & formation of anti-terrorism force & provision of resources, putting all un-necessary development projects like metros etc on HOLD & divert the funds to NACTA, yes ! then the nation would have felt…they are serious. With such a useless meeting, they have played with emotions of the nation & killed 180 million people.


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