QUETTA: During their separate visits to the city on Tuesday to offer condolences to the Hazara families on the death of their loved ones in the Hazarganji suicide attack, President Dr Arif Alvi reaffirmed the government’s resolve to provide protection to vulnerable sections of society, while PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari raised doubts about the government’s sincerity to fight terrorism.
During his visit to Imambargah Hazara Town where he offered Fateha for the victims of the suicide attack, President Alvi said that protection of every citizen was the responsibility of the state and it would fulfil its obligation and would not compromise on the safety of the people.
The president said the federal government stood by the Hazara community and would extend assistance to the Balochistan government in providing security to citizens.
Govt unable to decide whether to take side of killers or families of Hazarganji blast victims, says Bilawal
“The Constitution ensures protection of every citizen, including minorities living in the country,” Dr Alvi said, adding that the provincial government would ensure protection of all communities living in Balochistan.
Earlier, on his arrival at Quetta airport, President Alvi was welcomed by Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and provincial ministers.
Soon after his arrival in the city, the president went to Hazara Town where he met the relatives of the suicide bombing victims and expressed his grief and sorrow on the tragic incident.
President Alvi said that though announcing a compensation package was not a substitute for a life lost, the government would provide compensation to the families who had lost their relatives in the tragedy that would solve their problems to some extent.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit Quetta in a couple of days to meet the Hazara community.
He admitted that more work was needed for implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.
Earlier, the president held a meeting with Governor Yasinzai and Chief Minister Alyani in which he was briefed on the progress in investigation into the Hazarganji blast. Home Minister Ziaullah Langove was also present.
President Alvi also visited the mosque on Jabal-i-Noor in the Brewery area and met some families who had also lost their relatives, including children, in the blast.
He also visited the Frontier Corps Hospital to inquire after the health of the injured personnel.
Bilawal assails govt
Speaking to members of the Hazara community at Imambargah Hazara Town, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari deplored that the community had been targeted and facing tremendous pressure for a long time.
He alleged that the government was not in a position to decide whether to take the side of the killers or those mourning the death of their loved ones.
The PPP leader alleged that on the one hand the minister of state for interior claimed to be with the persecuted people and, on the other, he had been trying to give protection to the killers. “We will have to jointly take measures to curb extremism and terrorism,” he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that when he raised voice against extremism in the National Assembly, he was labelled as an enemy of the country but the actual enemies of country were those who promoted banned organisations.
Later, talking to the media, he said he had a message for the powers that be that if they wanted to mainstream anyone, it should be the victims of terrorism, and not banned outfits. In reply to a question, he said the presidential form of government could never be accepted in Pakistan. “If anyone tries to introduce One Unit system, it will lead to a big disaster and result in disintegration of the country,” he warned.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019