Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed concerns over the “liberty of action available” to terrorists in Afghanistan, urging the Taliban-led interim government to take action to stop “transnational terrorism”.
The statement comes after PM Shehbaz along with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir visited Peshawar on Tuesday, two days after a deadly suicide attack claimed at least 54 lives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district, according to a statement issued by the PM Office.
The deadly blast took place on Sunday evening in Bajaur district’s Khar, a former tribal area bordering Afghanistan, at the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) gathering, killing at least 54 people and injuring over 100.
During the visit, the prime minister was briefed on the overall security situation in KP with a focus on the Khar suicide blast, the status of investigations under process and counter-terrorism efforts being undertaken to dismantle the terrorists’ network by disrupting the linkages between planners, executioners, and abettors, the official statement said.
PM Shehbaz noted with concern the involvement of the Afghan citizens in the suicide blasts and the liberty of action available to the elements hostile to Pakistan in planning and executing such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians from the sanctuaries across the border.
“The Interim Afghan government should undertake concrete measures towards denying its soil to be used for transnational terrorism”, the statement quoted the premier as saying.
The statement further said the prime minister also appreciated the emergency efforts undertaken by the army in the evacuation of wounded personnel from Khar to Peshawar, saving many lives.
PM Shehbaz and COAS Gen Munir also visited the wounded personnel under treatment at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and inquired about their health.
The premier directed authorities concerned to render the best possible healthcare services to the wounded patients until their full recovery.
While interacting with the bereaved family members of the victims of the Khar suicide blast, PM Shehbaz assured them that the entire nation stands with them in this hour of grief and shares the burden of their losses.
“These cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot weaken our resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism from Pakistan. Security forces and law enforcement agencies with the support of the nation will ensure that those responsible for the dastardly attacks are brought to justice as soon as possible,” he added.
Daesh behind suicide attack
Terrorist organisation Daesh, also known as Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Monday.
Sharing the investigation update, Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) Additional Inspector General Shokat Abbas had said the convention began at 2pm while the explosion occurred two hours later at 4:10pm.
He said that ball bearings and other stuff used in making the explosives had been found at the site of the explosion.
Abbas further stated that the terrorist group behind the attack had been identified, which had targetted someone “specific” in the gathering.
He said that the initial probe had led the CTD to close to the attack’s perpetrators.
Abbas said that many pieces of evidence have been found at the site of the explosion, and forensic reports are being expected soon.
He confirmed that 10-12kg of explosives were used in the blast.
The KP CTD registered an FIR against unidentified suspects on charges of terrorism, murder, attempted murder and others, on behalf of Khar Station House Officer Niaz Mohammad.