ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday expressed deep grief and sorrow over the killing of Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada in a terrorist blast at his Attock residence.
In an official statement, the premier said: “The sacrifices of our brave nation and valiant heroes like Shuja Khanzada will decimate the designs of cowardly terrorists.”
“The courage and valour of Shuja Khanzada is a message to the masterminds of terrorist attacks that they are bound to be defeated,” he said, adding that each and every terrorist “will be chased to their last hideout and eliminated with national resolve and unity.”
PM Nawaz reaffirmed the commitment of the government to pursue the National Action Plan against terrorism and directed concerned quarters to formulate a preemptive security strategy to counter the menace.
Strongly condemning the attack, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif described the martyrdom of Shuja Khanzada as a ‘tragedy’ and the ‘loss of a patriotic Pakistani’.
“Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada was an honest, hardworking and courageous person. I cannot describe in words my grief over his martyrdom,” he said in a statement.
“The war against terrorism will continue till the complete elimination of terrorism. [Khanzada’s] brutal murderers will not escape their logical end.”The chief minister also expressed deep sorrow and grief over the martyrdom of DSP Shaukat Shah and other innocent victims in the bomb blast, and sympathised with their and Khanzada’s bereaved families.
President Mamnoon Hussain, while condemning the attack, said “such cowardly acts will not dent Pakistanis’ resolve to end the scourge of terrorism and extremism.” Expressing profound grief over Col Khanzada’s demise, he said the home minister’s “martyrdom will not be in vain.”
Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attack, calling it “a manifestation of the dying kicks of dying militants.”
“No words are strong enough to condemn the brutal and cowardly attack,” he said in a statement.
His son, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called for unity in national ranks to eliminate terrorism. “Such cowardly attacks cannot lower the morale of the nation which has risen up against bloodshed and terrorism,” he said in a statement released by the party’s media cell.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan announced that his party will not contest the elections for the seat left vacant in the wake of his demise “out of respect for his martyrdom.” He said Khanzada was a founding member of PTI and recalled how they travelled together in the early days of the party. Condemnations also poured in from the chief minister and governor of Sindh, and the speaker of the National Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2015.