• PM terms terrorism ‘foremost security challenge
• Imran calls for law enforcers to be ‘better equipped’
• Bilawal stresses need to implement NAP
• Mohsin Dawar blames attack on ‘flawed Afghan policy’
ISLAMABAD: As a suicide attack on a mosque in Peshawar sent shockwaves through the country, a number of politicians from across the spectrum denounced the terror act and expressed solidarity with the victims of the gruesome bombing.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who also visited Peshawar shortly after Monday’s brazen attack, said the pain of the grieving families cannot be described in words.
“My message to the perpetrators of today’s despicable incident is that you cannot underestimate the resolve of our people,” he said in a statement after coming back from Peshawar. “The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable,” he said, adding that terrorism is Pakistan’s “foremost national security challenge”.
“I strongly condemn the heinous and cowardly blast that has taken place in Peshawar mosque,” President Arif Alvi said, adding that the culprits will be found and punished. “Condolences to families who have lost an innocent member and prayers for injured. Terrorism must be buried forever,” he tweeted.
While condemning the suicide attack, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the federal government was assisting the KP administration in the probe pertaining to the deadly bombing. He said the incident was being thoroughly investigated.
According to the state-run APP, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and the chairperson of PPP vowed that terrorists and their facilitators would be taken to task for their role in the deadly bombing. He stressed implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) to eliminate terrorism. Mr Bhutto-Zardari also condemned the blast from his personal Twitter handle.
Former prime minister Imran Khan said there was a need to equip police and improve intelligence gathering capacities to fight terrorism. “My prayers and condolences go to victims’ families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” he tweeted.
Azad Jammu Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanvir Ilyas termed the attack “the worst example of brutality” and termed perpetrators the “enemy of Islam and humanity”. “This [attack] warrants collective and individual efforts by all segments of society to curb the menace of terrorism from the country,” he added.
Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N senior vice president, condemned the terrorist attack in Peshawar in the “strongest terms”, saying her heart goes out to the families of the martyred.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in a tweet, called for national unity to fight terrorism as he termed the attack on the mosque and worshippers an “extreme form of cruelty”.
MNA Mohsin Dawar blamed the attack on Pakistan’s “flawed Afghan policy”. “The state refuses to abandon its flawed Afghan policy,” he said, demanding that those who continue to support the Taliban needed to be held accountable as well.
The prime minister’s adviser, Amir Maqam, stated that the attack in a high-security zone in the provincial capital needed to be “taken seriously”.
He added that the entire nation came together after the Army Public School attack and the leadership made a decision to nip terrorism in the bud. “Today, the leadership needs to sit together and make a decision [in this regard]. Peace first, then politics,” Mr Maqam informed media persons during his visit to the site of the blast.
PTI leader Shireen Mazari said the blast was the result of “another intelligence failure”.
“Our police are frontline defenders against terrorists, especially in urban areas, and need better resources, including equipment,” the former human rights minister added.
Reacting to the Peshawar bombing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that terrorism, for any reason, was indefensible.
In a brief statement, the chief US diplomat noted that “worshipers at a mosque in Peshawar endured a horrific attack today, which killed and injured many.”
Mr Blinken reiterated the US stance that “terrorism for any reason at any place is indefensible.” He also extended his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.
In a separate statement, the US Embassy in Islamabad assured that “the United States stands with Pakistan in condemning all forms of terrorism.”
The Russian foreign minister also condemned the terrorist attack and called for global cooperation to eliminate terrorism.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the blast, according to AFP.
“The secretary-general strongly condemns the suicide bombing that took place at a mosque in Peshawar in Pakistan earlier today,” said Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesman.
“It is particularly abhorrent that such an attack occurred at a place of worship.”
Anwar Iqbal in Washington, Tariq Naqash in Muzaffarabad and Zaki Abbas in Islamabad contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2023