QUETTA: Two days after the deadly suicide blast in Mastung, the caretaker Balochistan government declared an “all-out war” against terrorists with the support of armed forces.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said terrorist incidents were occurring in the country, and there was “a set pattern” of these attacks.
“Enough is enough. Now there will be no appeasement or concession … we declare all-out war on these terrorists.”
He said the operation would not only be against attackers and their operatives but also the masterminds and linchpins “managing all these proxies”.
Caretaker minister says Mastung bomber was teenager; shutter-down strike in Quetta, other areas
He blamed inimical foreign powers for the attacks and asked why these attacks were only happening in Pakistan and not other regional countries.
“This means there is a mastermind behind it who is systematically destabilising us.”
Mr Achakzai said the caretaker government and security forces have decided to root out all kinds of terrorism, including sectarian, ethnic, religious and political.
He said terrorism will be completely eliminated as it is “a big hurdle in the country’s development”.
A meeting of the apex committee — comprising top civil and military officials — will be held on Tuesday (tomorrow) to devise a strategy for the repatriation of “illegal immigrants” to their countries.
“The government has already adopted a zero-tolerance policy on terrorism and smuggling.”
Mr Achakzai underscored the need to strengthen the security of Balochistan and said the path of Pakistan’s progress “goes through Gwadar, Sui, and Saindak”.
The information minister also told the media that the Mastung suicide attacker was a teenage boy.
He said the conclusion was reached from the remains collected from the site by law enforcement agencies.
“Remains of the suspected suicide bomber, which was collected by CTD from the explosion site, show his age was between 15 to 18 years,” he said, adding the samples will be sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for identification.
The officials of CTD and other agencies were collecting more information about the bomber and his facilitators behind the attack. He said that the Balochistan government has decided to give compensation to the victims.
A compensation of Rs1.5 million will be given to the deceased family, while seriously injured would get Rs 500,000 and minor injured would be paid Rs200,000.
The minister added that the injured have been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital in Quetta, and the caretaker Balochistan chief minister has already announced to send the injured to any hospital in the country for treatment as per their wishes.
On Sunday, a complete shutter-down strike was observed in various Balocshitan cities, including the provincial capital Quetta, against the attack.
All shops, malls, markets and business centres across Quetta remained closed during the strike, which was called by Ittehad Ahl-i-Sunnat Balochistan.
The group also took out a procession in the provincial capital, which passed through the main roads and streets.
The participants carried placards and banners inscribed slogans condemning the attack.
While addressing the procession, leaders demanded action against facilitators for the attack and their supporters.
They said the attack didn’t only kill 60 people but “destroyed 60 families” as many of the victims were the sole bread earners of their families.
The protesters also criticised the Mastung and Khuzdar administrations for imposing Section 144 in the two districts and said their protests couldn’t be thwarted with these restrictions.
Besides Mastung and Khuzdar, the strike was also observed in Kalat, Sibi, Dera Murad Jamali, Dera Allahyar, Nushki, Dalbandin and Pishin.
Abdul Wahid Shahwani from Khuzdar, Ali Jan Mangi from Nasirabad and Behram Baloch from Gwadar also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023