ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani terming the Saturday’s deadly suicide attack outside the Marriott hotel as a ‘cowardly’ act of terrorism said Sunday these terrorist and militant elements wanted to destabilize the country, by hurting democratic process and economy.
“It is a cowardly act of terrorism against the innocent people in this holy month of Ramazan. The whole nation condemns and all the democratic forces are in grief on this tragedy”, Gilani told media persons here, as he visited the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to inquire after the health of those injured in the suicide attack.
Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Advisor to PM on Interior, Rehman Malik were also present. The Prime Minister informed the newsmen that so far 53 deaths from this tragic happening have been confirmed including the Ambassador of Czech Republic, Mr. Ivo Zdarek.
Gilani said he has directed his Advisor on Interior to submit an initial inquiry report about the suicide attack by Sunday night, which took the lives of innocent people mainly the security staff and the law enforcing personnel.
He said the law enforcing personnel have been the focus and target of the militants for the last few months, as the terrorists wanted to demoralize the law enforcement agencies.
The Prime Minister in this respect also recalled the recent terrorist attack on policemen near the Lal Masjid, after the peaceful conclusion of a conference there. Gilani did not agree with a view that there was failure of disaster management after the incident and said after 15 minutes of attack rescue work had started as he alongwith the President and the Chief of Army Staff were monitoring the situation through live telecasts from various television channels.
While talking to Newsmen from Lahore Airport Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Sunday said that Prime Minister House was the target of terrorists where key figures of the country were present to attend the dinner after joint session of the parliament, but they could not do it due to tight security arrangements. He was talking to newsmen here at the Lahore Airport on his arrival from Islamabad this afternoon. Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and other important personalities including PPP leaders Aziz ur Rehman and Zikria Butt were present at the airport to welcome the premier.
To a question, he said that terrorists are doing such acts to highlight presence of nuclear weapons of Pakistan and added there is an effective command and control system of nuclear arms in Pakistan and terrorist can never become close to these weapons. To another query, he said that the government has put a strong hand over the terrorists and the incident could be reaction of the frustration of the terrorists.
The Prime Minister said that tribal people in Pakistan are patriotic and none of them is terrorist. He said that only a few foreign persons are involved in the terrorist acts in Pakistan. He said that the government has constituted a 3-pronged policy to redress the problem in tribal areas.
He said that poverty, illiteracy and non availabilities of basic amenities are among the reasons behind extremism and the government has decided to launch a massive development program in these areas. He said that those militants who would de-weaponize themselves would not be questioned. The government can not tolerate attacks on buildings, armed forces and challengers of its writ.
Responding to a query, the Prime Minister rejected the impression that Pakistan is fighting war of America. He said that 99% killings of such incidents are of Pakistanis, and said that Pakistan is working on its indigenous policy.
He said that in-camera briefing will be given to the parliamentarians to apprise them about the facts regarding the challenge of terrorism and get their consultation. Gilani said “we need cooperation from all to cut roots of terrorism which is defaming the country in the world”.
He urged the political forces to discharge their responsibility to discourage use of name of Islam for such cruel incidents as terrorist had no religion. To a question,he said “ I can’not jump to the conclusion till completion of the enquiry , our main focus is on maintaining law and order and to fight terrorism and extremism”. Gilani also praised CM Punjab for his cooperation against terrorism.
Input from Agencies