PTI skips apex committee meeting, says it cannot sit with those carrying out revenge
Following the horrific suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called on the nation to shun its differences and fight the scourge of terrorism.
The PM made the appeal while chairing an apex committee meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor House in Peshawar. The meeting was being attended by the chief of army staff, chief ministers of all provinces and other senior officials.
Addressing the meeting, PM Shehbaz said that the meeting was called to deliberate on terrorism and find solutions to the scourge of terrorism.
“On Monday, a ghastly suicide attack martyred over 100 people and we are here to show solidarity with the families of those affected by the attack,” said the premier. He added that the attack was “very unfortunate” but also noted that the attacker reached the mosque after passing through the check post in Police Lines.
“After APS, this was the most distraught incident that has taken place in the city. The nation is asking that after the elimination of terrorism a few years ago how come did the incident take place in Peshawar?” said PM Shehbaz.
The premier noted that there has been a rise in terror incidents since the last several months in the province and condemned the social media claims on the attack.
“The baseless allegations levelled after the attack on social media and other platforms is condemnable. The investigation will take place into the security lapse but to say that it was a drone attack or something else is very inappropriate,” said the premier.
PM Shehbaz said that the nation is now thinking about how to move forward and curb the menace of terrorism.
"It is imperative that the Centre and provinces, political leadership, and Ulema must take ownership of this drive, shunning their differences and fighting this jointly," said the PM and vowed to utilise all the country's resources to eradicate terrorism.
The premier also called for unnecessary criticism should be avoided.
"Speak the truth and hold the responsible accountable for the security lapse. If, God forbid, this was a part of a conspiracy, then what about those incidents that took place in the recent past or in previous years?" asked the PM.
The premier shared that he was confident that it was a terrorist attack.
The premier also dismissed the allegations that the centre was not providing assistance when when incidents took place in Bannu, Nowshaera, Mardan, Peshawar or in other cities of KP.
"In the last cabinet meeting, I, with no fiction but facts, shared the details about the funds given to the KP government," said PM Shehbaz.
The PM reminded that in 2010, everyone willingly decided in a meeting that was held in Lahore that 1% of the NFC will go to KP before any deduction as the province was the frontline state in the war against terrorism.
"All the provinces agreed to the then-KP chief minister Amir Hader Hoti's proposal for the funds without any question. Without giving a second thought. Approximately Rs417 billion were given to KP. Where the money has gone?" asked the PM
The PM also lamented that the PTI government’s failure to launch Punjab-like safe city and forensic lab projects.
"As we speak, an IMF delegation is in Islamabad and giving a very tough time to the finance minister and his team. I will not go into detail about this further but our economic challenges are unimaginable. The IMF conditions which we have to fulfil are beyond imagination but we have to do it," said the PM.
He also called for an audit of Rs417 billion given to the province. Had, half of the amount been spent, the people of this province must have been having a peaceful sleep.
"Terrorists have no country, no religion, no faith"
The premier said that Pakistan was carved out of India to become a leading nation, adding that if they do not act against terrorism now then, history will not forgive them.
"You [PTI] were ready to resettle who were shedding blood but not ready to shake hands for the sake of the nation. The double standard will not work now," said PM Shehbaz.
The premier also confirmed that he had extended an invitation to his predecessor Imran Khan for an all parties conference.
"I have also invited the leader of a political party who was not willing to shake hands with me. We now have to raise above personal likes and dislikes," said the premier.
PTI leader Asad Qaiser condemned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s comments in the apex committee meeting.
In a statement, the former National Assembly speaker said that the PM should not have passed comments against the KP police.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been the most affected by terrorism,” said the former speaker. He added that PTI’s policy towards terrorism was "successful".
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) minister Shaukat Yousufzai confirmed to Geo News that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had received the invitation for the meeting, however, they will be skipping the huddle.
“We cannot sit with those who are taking vengeful acts against us,” saidYousufzai.
The former KP minister said that the “on one side, there were bodies of the martyrs" and on the other side the federal government was asking the PTI details about the Rs417 billion dispersed to it to fight terror.
Yousufzai also alleged that the federal government had stopped giving the fund to the KP government, adding that the government was not serious.