Incidents of past week could increase, Sheikh Rashid alludes to terrorism attacks

Published February 5, 2022
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addresses a ceremony held in Rawalpindi in relevance to Kashmir Day. — DawnNewsTv
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addresses a ceremony held in Rawalpindi in relevance to Kashmir Day. — DawnNewsTv

Making an apparent reference to the recent rise in terrorism incidents and attacks on security forces, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Saturday that incidents that had taken place over the past week could further increase.

"I do not want to comment on the talks here. The Taliban have intervened but the incidents that occurred in the past week could increase. They could rise [further]," he said while addressing a ceremony held in Rawalpindi in relevance to Kashmir Day.

Rashid did not elaborate further on this comment, which was, apparently, also an allusion to the the end of a month-long ceasefire between the government and proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in December last year.

The minister's comment has come in the wake of attempted attacks by terrorists on security forces camps in Balochistan's Panjgur and Naushki late on Wednesday evening.

Following the incidents, the military's media wing said the attacks had been "successfully repulsed” while dealing heavy damage to the terrorists.

At least 13 terrorists were killed and seven security personnel, including an officer, martyred during the armed attacks and subsequent security operations by Thursday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

It was followed by a grenade attack at a Levies checkpost in the border town of Chaman in Balochistan on Friday.

Six people, including two Levies personnel, were injured in the incident.

These incidents are the latest in a string of attacks in Balochistan and come a week after ten soldiers were martyred in a terrorist attack on a security forces' checkpost in the province's Kech district.

According to the ISPR, the "fire raid" by terrorists in Kech occurred on the night of Jan 25-26.

"During intense exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed and several injured. While repulsing terrorists' fire raid, 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom," the statement had said.

Two days after the attack, three Levies Force personnel along with a Bugti clan elder were martyred and eight others injured in twin bomb blasts in the Sui area of Dera Bugti.

Prior to that on Jan 30, 17 people, including two policemen, were injured in a grenade attack in Dera Allahyar town of Jaffarabad district.

'Very good relations with Afghanistan'

During his speech on Saturday, Rashid also spoke about ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August last year.

He said the Afghan Taliban had had fought a war for years and got freedom for their country, adding that "our sympathies lie with Muslims."

"Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and when I say Afghanistan I mean the Taliban, are very good," he said, adding that his ministry and military institutions had held several meetings with the Afghan Taliban.

"We want to live like good neighbours with Afghanistan," he said. "Afghanistan's progress is Pakistan's progress, and the Taliban's success is Muslims' success."

'Pakistan incomplete without Kashmir'

In relevance to Kashmir Day, Rashid said the condition of Muslims in India and occupied Kashmir was lamentable.

"There will be elections in [the Indian state] of UP (Uttar Pradesh) on February 10 and look how Muslims are living there. Look what Muslims are being subjected to in Delhi," he said, adding that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had not given a single ticket to a Muslim candidate for elections.

Expressing solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, he said, "Pakistan is incomplete without Kashmir."

"We want your (occupied Kashmir's) freedom," he added. "You decide what you want. We are standing with you for your freedom."

Criticism against opposition

Turning his attention to the opposition, he said their days were numbered in politics.

"Nawaz Sharif's politics will end just like Nasla Tower was demolished and the decline of PPP's politics will be similar to the demolition of Tejori Heights," he commented.

Rashid held the opposition responsible for growing inflation in the country, saying that they had looted Pakistan's wealth and taken it abroad.

Rashid said if a day would come where he had to choose between going abroad or being hanged in Adiala Jail, he would leave the country.

"I will not flee after showing a fake medical certificate," he added, taking an apparent jibe at PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

The minister also slammed feudal lords and industrialists, holding them responsible for the unfair distribution of resources and comparing them with "mafias".

"They give small donations to different political parties to silence [them] and make profits when there is a shortage of commodities," he regretted.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, he continued, wanted put the corrupt, dishonest and money launderers in the country behind bars, but he couldn't do so because the "system here works only to punish the poor".

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