QUETTA: Top civil and military leadership believed that Monday’s suicide attack at the Civil Hospital was actually an attempt by the “enemies of the country” to sabotage the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed all state security institutions to respond “with full might to eliminate terrorists” and Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif gave a free hand to intelligence agencies to target anyone linked to the terrorist attacks.

The PM and the army chief separately arrived in the provincial capital and held deliberations with their aides following the blast that killed at least 70 people.

The army chief met Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai and other judges and expressed his condolences for the victims of the bombing.

He also visited the Civil Hospital to express solidarity with the wounded.

While the army chief also attended a meeting chaired by PM Sharif at Governor House in the evening, he chaired a security meeting at the headquarters of the Southern Command.

According to Inter-Serv­ices Public Relations, the meeting was also attended by Balochistan Chief Minis­ter Sanaullah Zehri, Chief Secretary Saif­ullah Chattha, Commander Southern Com­mand Lieute­nant General Amir Riaz and others.

ISPR chief Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said in a series of tweets that Gen Raheel was of the view that the attack was an attempt to undermine improved security and target the CPEC in the province.

The army chief said that the terrorists had been defea­ted in Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and now they were shifting their focus to Balochistan.

He directed the intelligence agencies to “go anywhere in the country to target anyone linked with these terror acts” in their special combing operations.

Later, PM Sharif arrived in Quetta and chaired a high-level meeting at the Governor House. The army chief, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, CM, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Riaz, National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, the directors general of military operations and military intelligence were also present.

The CS briefed the PM about the overall situation.

The PM directed all state security institutions to respond with full might to eliminate terrorists. Terrorists are using innovating measures by hitting soft targets and one must respond in an advanced coordinated way.”

“No doubt in my mind that enemies of Pakistan are after the CPEC,” he added.

The PM said that the Pakistan Army under the leadership of Gen Raheel was doing a commendable job “to neutralise the security threat towards CPEC”.

“We will address the international terror threats through maximum effort. We will make a functional mechanism of federal provincial law enforcement and intelligence agencies. We will support this framework with available resources,” he said.

He said that the federal and provincial governments would shift resources to augment capacity of the Frontier Constabulary and the Counter Terrorism Department.

He asked the CM to submit a comprehensive report in this regard.

Earlier, the PM visited the Combined Military Hospital to inquire after the victims. He also prayed for their early recovery.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2016

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