PA condemns Quetta carnage, seeks culprits’ arrest
KARACHI, Feb 20: The Quetta carnage, followed by heart-rending scenes of sit-ins with 89 bodies, women and children for three days, galvanised the fragmented opposition and the isolated Pakistan People’s Party in the Sindh Assembly to unite and condemn the attack in Hazara Town and demand that the government and law-enforcement agencies take concrete and immediate steps to arrest perpetrators of the repeated tragedies.
This call, initiated by Syed Faisal Sabzwari, a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, soon after the questions hour, overshadowed all legislation business on the order of the day. After Sabzwari, Ghulam Mujaddid Isran read out his resolution on the subject while many others lined up to speak on the resolutions. However, only over a dozen lawmakers could do so.
The movers, in their speeches, condemned those responsible for the tragedy and reiterated their determination not to surrender to terrorists. They said despite repeated expression of concern in the house on the issue, terrorism could not be eliminated because it was the outcome of a mindset which did not consider others than themselves on the right path.
They recalled that not only eminent clerics, scholars, doctors, political leaders, including Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yousufzai, Bashir Bilour and Syed Manzar Imam had fallen prey to elements with the same mindset.
It was a conspiracy against Pakistan, he said, and called for concerted efforts by the entire nation to deal with terrorists sternly and without any consideration as they were the enemies of humanity.
Mr Sabzwari said in this war against terrorism about 50,000 people, belonging to every school of thought, including members of the Christian and Hindu communities and smaller minorities, had lost their lives.
He said if any section of society for fear of their vengeance failed to raise its voice considering this war was on the other side of the fence, should mind that tomorrow they could be the target. Therefore, there was no choice for them than to unite to meet the challenge and win the war.
He said: “We ought to be the role model being elected representatives of the people to tell them that how and why innocent people are being martyred and how the jugular vein of Pakistan is being hit.”
This scourge was not restricted to a specific area in the country, but cities from Parachinar and Gilgit to Quetta and Karachi were in its grip. “It is the question of the survival of Pakistan and there is no other option but to initiate severe action against them,” he remarked.
Mr Isran said: “We all are followers of Islam which teaches us to live in peace, tranquility and brotherhood. The repeated Quetta tragedies were “an ugly spot on our faith”.
Syeda Shehla Raza traced the history of terrorism in Pakistan to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the role played by Zia-ul-Haque and said the Shia community had been targeted by enemies of humanity since 1985-86.
She said: “They are enemies of all of us and we all have to face this challenge with unity.”
She also said those accusing the agencies of failure and seeking excuses by identifying “good” and “bad” Taliban or having links with followers of the banned organisations such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Al-Qaeda or in the cover of drone attacks pleading for talks with the Taliban were in fact supporters of killers. They should be ashamed of themselves as killers of any human were killers of humanity.
Syeda Marvi Rashdi said: “Our religion, constitution and the law of the land teaches us to live in peace. She backed the demand for launching a targeted operation by the army against terrorists until they were rooted out from the country.
Sassui Palejo said it appeared that the repeated targeted killing in Quetta, particularly of the Hazara tribe, was a conspiracy against Balochistan. She condemned all sorts of terrorism wherever it was perpetrated, whether in Quetta, Karachi, Lahore or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the form of bomb blasts or suicide attacks.
Nusrat Seher Abbasi said terrorism could not be eliminated merely by condemning the mindset. The attitude of the government would also have to be taken into account. It was to be seen whether the government had discharged its duty. The Quetta tragedy, repeated within a short period, was not taken notice of by the government until the victims’ families staged sit-ins with the bodies for three days each time.
She said the government had become so callous and immune to human tragedies that people had to draw its attention by keeping their bodies on the road for three days.
Humera Alwani said a proxy war was going on in Pakistan as international forces were seeking a division of Pakistan by supporting the banned organisations. She demanded severe action against terrorists.
Nuzhat Pathan said if the army could be called out in Swat and Waziristan, there was no harm in deploying it in Quetta for security of the people and restoration of peace.
Syed Khalid Ahmad said: “We are all in a state of war. As such it is not a matter restricted to the army and agencies, but it calls for the entire nation to rise as wars are fought by the nation and not by a single institution.”
Imdad Pitafi said: “Our survival and that of the country depends on providing protection to the people.” He said why the government took action only after innocent people were killed.
Javed Hussain Shah said it was a conspiracy against Pakistan. Shahid Thaime said terrorists had struck again in less than 40 days to give the message that they were more powerful than the government and its agencies.
Amir Nawab said there were many outsiders in Balochistan, and demanded their expulsion and criticised people secretly supporting them.
Anwar Mahar said the biggest war was being fought in Pakistan in the region where not only the GHQ but PAF and Naval bases were attacked as Pakistan was the victim of an international conspiracy.
Jam Madad Ali said such incidents were a conspiracy against Muslims and Pakistan. He also backed the demand for handing over Quetta to the army.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said the Quetta incident was a conspiracy against democracy and the country and the people should make concerted efforts to meet the challenge.
When the resolution was put to vote by the chair at 2.30am, it was passed unanimously. The other business could not be taken up for want of time. The house was adjourned to meet on Thursday at 10am.
Earlier, the house was called to order at 11.30am by speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro. After recitation from the Holy Quran, Arif Jatoi wanted to ask a brief question under Rule 43 about Rs20 million extra allocation announced by the chief minister during his budget speech for every MPA for development schemes, but the money had not yet been sanctioned.
Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said the question was related to the planning and development department and not to his department.