ISLAMABAD: Condemning the suicide bombing at a Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Monday urged the nation and all political parties to stand united and fight out ‘ulterior motives’ of the perpetrators behind the attack.
He reiterated resolve of the government to chase the culprits behind the twin suicide attacks with full might and bring them to justice.
“We need to stand united. We need to rise above political affiliation. We have to chase them to the end and bring them to justice,” he said in his opening remarks in the National Assembly.
The house started discussion on Sunday’s suicide bombing that killed at least 81 and injured more than 130 in the capital of troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Chaudhry Nisar condemned the incident in strongest term and described the incident as an inhuman act that was unacceptable in any society, religion or creed.
“The perpetrators cannot be termed as human beings. Killing one human being is like killing the whole of humanity.”
He said the nation has foiled the criminals’ bid to paralyse it. “This inhuman act has instead made the nation emerge once again with resilience to fight out their ulterior motives.”
The interior minister said the whole nation, including the federal and provincial governments, have extended sympathies and support to the aggrieved Christian community. “I also assured the Bishop in Peshawar that every Pakistani was standing with them,” he added.
Giving details of the incident, he said two suicide bombers blew themselves up with one at the Church gate and other in the courtyard.
“The situation was heart rending. But, Pakistani citizens observed sanity and patience and proved that they were a nation fighting terrorism with bravery and courage.”
Chaudhry Nisar announced three day nation-wide mourning and said the government will be meeting leaders of the Christian community within next three to four days to evolve a national strategy for protection of lives and worship places of the community.
He also extended support to the KP government to track down the terrorists and efforts for relief to the victims.
The interior minister while appreciating conduct of the provincial government said the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) government stood united with the federal government at the critical juncture.
“I am happy to say that today the Pakistani nation is one on this issue. Whenever I visited Sindh, KP or Balochistan where governments are being run by different parties, I never had an impression of disunity,” he said.
“This is a good omen that the nation and political parties stand united against terrorism. Today we need to firmly and collectively move forward to root out this menace,” Nisar added.
The minister did not go into details regarding conflicting reports of terrorist groups claiming responsibility of the attack.
AFP reported that the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had set up a new faction, called the Junood ul-Hifsa, to kill foreigners to avenge US drone strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.
Reuters, however, named the group as TTP’s “Jundullah group.”
Speaking in the lower house of parliament, which also unanimously passed a resolution strongly condemning the massacre of Christians in the twin blasts, Chaudhry Nisar said it was surprising that the group claiming the responsibility did not have any presence in the area.
“I have spoken to intelligence agencies and no phone intercept was recorded either,” he said.
“Whenever something like this happens, usually a phone intercept is found….when Gen Niazi was killed, we found an intercept,” said the minister referring to killing of Pak Army’s Maj-Gen Sanaullah Niazi along with two other officers earlier in the month.
Chaudhry Nisar, however, promised to keep the house informed regarding progress of the probe into the suicide bombing and vowed to take every possible step to bring the culprits to the book.