Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif admits failure to stop Peshawar ‘massacre’: report

Addressing a main committee meeting at the Governor’s House here on the mosque attack and the emerging situation of terrorism in Pakistan, Sharif also expressed his dismay at the criticism leveled at the federal government by opposition parties to after the terrorist attacks.

Amid a series of terror attacks in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif admitted on Friday that he was unable to prevent the Peshawar blast and called for “national unity” to deal with the threat. More than 100 people were killed in a suicide bombing during prayers at a mosque in Peshawar. Addressing a main committee meeting at the Governor’s House here on the mosque attack and the emerging situation of terrorism in Pakistan, Sharif also expressed his dismay at the criticism leveled at the federal government by opposition parties to after the terrorist attacks.

‘Daan’ newspaper quoted Sharif as saying: “Unity is needed among the political parties. This act of terrorism was carried out by penetrating the security checkpoint and reaching the mosque. We should not hesitate to accept the facts.” Imran Khan, a former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, boycotted the meeting. Criticizing Khan for refusing to attend the main committee meeting, Sharif said: “You ( Imran Khan) is not ready to unite to improve the fate of the country.”

In Monday’s attack on a Peshawar mosque, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during afternoon prayers. In this 101 people died and more than 200 were injured. Police said Thursday that the assailant wore a police uniform to enter the high-security area and was riding a motorcycle wearing a helmet and mask. There have been many terrorism-related cases in Pakistan recently, most of which were carried out in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of the country.

However, the Punjab city of Mianwali, on the border with Balochistan and restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has also witnessed terrorist attacks. Expressing his condolences to the families of those killed in the mosque attack, Sharif said he was asked how this terrorist act was carried out when terrorism ended a few years ago. The news quoted him as saying, “Improper criticism has been seen on social media in the wake of this incident. This is certainly reprehensible. It will be investigated whether the incident occurred due to a security breach. But to say it was a drone strike and similar accusations was unnecessary at this sad time.”

During the meeting, Sharif acknowledged the presence of terrorists in Pakistan, saying that terrorists roam but have no safe areas to hide. “To the best of my knowledge, the terrorists have not captured any area. There is not an inch under his control. They wander here and there. But there is no place under their occupation.” The meeting on Friday was attended by several senior Pakistani government officials, including Army Chief General Asim Munir, chief ministers from four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, ministers and federal leaders.

Sharif said that all of Pakistan is thinking about how to deal with this threat in the future. He said: “What measures will be taken to stop this wave of terror? It is the need of the moment that the leadership of the political parties, as well as the provinces and the center, assume responsibility and resolve their differences, whether they are political or related to any religious reason. We must come together and face it.”

Sharif questioned who allowed the militants to return to the country after being driven out during various military operations. He said: “But who brought them (the Taliban) here? This is a question to which the country seeks an answer. During the meeting, Sharif announced that he would convene an All Party Conference (APC) meeting on February 7 to discuss militancy and formulate a strategy to combat it.

Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.



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