Foremost national security challenge: Peshawar blast an attack on Pakistan, says PM

PM Shehbaz Sharif, army chief visit blast survivors at LRH
<p>Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief Asim Munir, inquire after an injured man at the Lady Reading Hospital after a suspected suicide blast in the mosque near police headquarters. PHOTO: ONLINE</p>

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief Asim Munir, inquire after an injured man at the Lady Reading Hospital after a suspected suicide blast in the mosque near police headquarters. PHOTO: ONLINE

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday termed the suspected suicide blast in Peshawar an attack on Pakistan, adding that it terrorism was the foremost national security challenge facing Pakistan.

He said this while meeting with survivors of the attack at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Shehbaz said that such cowardly terror attacks will not weaken the nation’s resolve and that all the terrorists and their facilitators involved in attacks on innocent citizens will be punished.

He added said those who had shed blood of worshippers could not be Muslims.

“Criminals behind the terror attack will not be absolved by Allah,” he remarked, as he vowed to root out terrorists.

The premier travelled to Peshawar from Islamabad on Monday evening. He was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen Syed Asim Munir, Peshawar Corps Commander and federal ministers including Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Marriyam Aurangzeb, Interior Rana Sanaullah and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Haji Ghulam Ali.

The premier was expected to chair an emergency meeting of the relevant authorities later on Monday in which the preliminary report of the Peshawar blast will be presented besides examining the root cause of such incidents.

Earlier, KP Inspector General Police Muazzam Jah Ansari briefed the PM on the initial investigations into the suspected suicide attack.

The PM was also shown CCTV footage of the suicide attack.

PM Shehbaz said terrorists were attacking security institutions which are defending Pakistan.

He added that they were attempting to create an atmosphere of fear and terror in the country.

“The strength of unity of institutions and people would foil the designs of terrorists,” he said, adding that Pakistan had rendered great sacrifices against terrorism and sacrifices of the martyrs would not go waste.

Shehbaz said the capacity of anti-terrorism institutions and police will be enhanced and the National Action Plan would be implemented comprehensively and with full force.

Earlier, in a tweet before leaving for Peshawar, he directed his party workers to donate blood to the injured.

He tweeted, “I direct the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) workers to donate blood to save the lives of those injured in the suicide attack. I appeal especially to the people with ‘O-Negative’ blood, students and party workers to immediately reach Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar and contribute to saving precious human lives.”

Earlier, PM Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack that took place in a mosque at Peshawar Police Lines, reiterating the national resolve and unity to eliminate terrorism from the country.

He, in a statement, said that the killing of Muslims while they worshiped, was in violation of Islamic teaching and that the attack on a mosque evidenced that the perpetrators had nothing to do with Islam.

He said the terrorists wanted to create panic by targeting those safeguarding the country and reiterated his resolve to eliminate such elements waging war against Pakistan.

“The killers of innocent people will be made an example. The whole nation including the institutions was united against terrorism,” he remarked.

He said the nation saluted the martyrs and that the government would formulate a strategy regarding the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The prime minister said that the federal government would extend support to the provinces for their capacity-building against terrorism.

He instructed the federal interior minister to support the counter-terrorism departments of the provinces, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to enhance their capability.

The premier prayed for peace for the departed souls and strength for their bereaved families to bear the loss with fortitude.

Peshawar blast

PM Shehbaz Sharif

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