‘Who brought these terrorists back?’: PM Shehbaz flays PTI after Peshawar bomb attack

PM questions "misuse" of funds given to the KP government to develop its counter-terrorism capabilities

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing the federal cabinet meeting on February 1, 2023. — YouTube screengrab/GeoNews
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing the federal cabinet meeting on February 1, 2023. — YouTube screengrab/GeoNews 

  • PM questions "misuse" of funds provided to KP govt.
  • Says KP received Rs417 billion in funding since 2010.
  • Warns of terrorism spreading if "appropriate steps not taken".

Following the ghastly attack on the Police Lines mosque in Peshawar, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), asking who brought terrorists back into the country. 

PM Shehbaz, giving a policy statement while presiding over the federal cabinet meeting, questioned the "misuse" of funds provided to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to develop its counter-terrorism capabilities.

The premier said that the government has been giving funds to KP under the NFC awards since 2010 which makes the total amount of Rs417 billion. 

The premier questioned where the "big amount" was used, saying that the PTI has ruled in the province for 10 years.  

He said that everyone in the country is asking the same question.

"Who brought them back? How did Pakistan's peace was disrupted again and how did KP come under attack, once again?" he told the cabinet.

"Who said that they [terrorists] are jihadists and that they are friends of Pakistan? Who said that they have surrendered and will participate in the development of Pakistan?"

"No other province received that kind of money except KP. The province has received Rs40 billion annually," he highlighted. The PM added that he is stating facts only and not levelling accusations.

The PM further said that National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and CTDs were established, and to say that that they don't have funds is an attempt to "distort the facts".

PM Shehbaz said that even after that, the KP government laments that there are weaknesses in their Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and that they have no equipment.

The PM warned of terrorism spreading in other areas of Pakistan once again if "appropriate steps are not taken". However, he assured that the government will control terrorism with "collective efforts".

PM Shehbaz recalled that defeat was inflicted on the terrorist elements through Radd-ul-Fasaad and Zarb-e-Azb operations because of which peace was restored in the country. He said people belonging to different walks of life, including politicians, rendered their lives in the war against this menace. "However, the resurfacing of terrorist elements is a matter of concern," he said.

He was especially appreciative of the sacrifices rendered by the people of KP in the war on terrorism. He said KP has remained our front-line province in this war and its sacrifices will always be remembered in history.

"Benazir Bhutto was also martyred as a result of terrorism," he added.

Peshawar blast

Peshawar saw the deadliest attack in a decade on Monday in the city's strictly-guarded Police Lines area that claimed about 100 lives with 221 injured.  

The attack in the restive city near the Afghan border and comes amid a surge in violence against law enforcement agencies. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the colossal blast. 

Police chief Ijaz Khan told Reuters today that major arrests have been made in connection with the bombing. 

He said police are investigating how the suicide bomber entered the highly-secured police area, and could not rule out internal assistance to carry out the attack.

— Additional input from Reuters.