Govt will punish perpetrators of Quetta attack: Pak PM

Ahraf on Tuesday pledged that his government would go to any extent to punish those responsible for the bomb attack that killed scores of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

Islamabad: Calling for collective action to eliminate terrorism, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ahraf on Tuesday pledged that his government would go to any extent to punish those responsible for the bomb attack that killed scores of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

"It is not time for a political divide. It is not time to discriminate between the government and the opposition. We need collective wisdom and action for the nation`s deliverance from the challenges it faces," Ashraf said, while addressing the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

He spoke after the House discussed the law and order situation with special reference to the devastating bomb attack that killed 89 people and injured nearly 200 in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta on Saturday.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack, which came barely a month after twin suicide bombings in Quetta killed 92 Shias.

Strongly condemning Saturday`s bomb attack, the premier said his government would take all steps to bring the perpetrators to task without making any compromise.

Ashraf said the government will fulfill all the demands of the Hazara community, including the deployment of security forces as the foremost objective is to protect their lives and properties.

Ashraf said he had directed the Balochistan Governor to probe whether the bombing was the outcome of negligence on the part of any security agency. He said action would be taken if any negligence was proved.

"It is an undeniable fact that our society is in the clutches of different forms of terrorism and bloodshed has affected all the provinces and every section of society and all institutions, including security forces, politicians, students, mosques and schools," he said.

Ashraf said the time had come to "strengthen each other against militants as a strong collective message would ultimately weaken anti-state forces".

Recalling the last attack on Quetta`s Shia Hazaras that
killed 92 people, Ashraf said he had imposed Governor`s Rule in Balochistan and enhanced the deployment of paramilitary forces in keeping with the demands of the minority community.

"But unfortunately, despite all measures, another incident took place," he said.
In a separate development, the premier constituted a six-member parliamentary delegation, including Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Inter Provincial Coordination Minister Mir Khazar Khan Bijrani and Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal, to visit Quetta tomorrow to assess the situation following the latest terrorist attack on Shias.

The team will meet families of the victims and representatives of security and intelligence agencies and the provincial administration.

The committee will submit a report containing its assessment and recommendations, an official statement said.

The Prime Minister also sought a comprehensive report from intelligence agencies "regarding the breach of security by an explosives-laden truck used by the terrorists during the attack" on Saturday.

Ashraf reiterated his resolve that the government will take "all possible measures to identify those involved in this heinous terrorist attack" and bring them to book.
The premier spoke to Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Secretary Baber Fateh Yaqoob and made it clear to all stakeholders that no stone will remain unturned to bring the perpetrators to justice.