• Says terror incidents being occurred in country ‘daily on a set pattern’
  • Shutdown observed throughout province against Mastung carnage

QUETTA: Two days after the deadly Mastung suicide bombing that claimed 60 lives, Caretaker Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai on Sunday said “enough is enough and declared an all-out war”, reiterating the resolve the state would defend each and every inch of its territory with “an iron fist.”

Addressing a press conference here, Jan Achakzai asserted that terrorist incidents were occurring in all of the country “daily and it has a set pattern”, questioning why such attacks were only happening in Pakistan and not other regional countries.

 

“This means there is a mastermind behind it who is systematically destabilising us. Enough is enough. Now there will be no appeasement or concession … we declare all-out war on these terrorists.”

During a press conference in Quetta on Sunday, Jan Achakzai was asked about any grand operation in the wake of terrorist attacks in the province. The minister said he could not comment on that but reassured that the state would defend each and every inch of its territory and carry out intelligence-based operations if needed.

On the other hand, the death toll from the Mastung suicide blast rose to 60 on Sunday with four victims are still said to be in a critical condition.

It has been reported that 18 victims are still admitted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and three others are getting treatment at Civil Hospital.

The Quetta’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) registered a first information report (FIR) of the case. A powerful suicide blast had rocked Balochistan’s Mastung district on Friday.

On Friday, a suicide bomber ripped through a procession celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on 12 Rabiul Awwal in Mastung, killing a police officer, religious leaders and children among dozens with the death toll at 59.

No militant group, however, has claimed responsibility for the bombing, prompting claims from the government that the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, was involved.

The banned TTP, in fact, distanced itself from the carnage in a statement and the Counter-Terrorism Department registered a case against unidentified persons.

A day earlier, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir had said terrorists and facilitators behind the attacks on 12th Rabiul Awwal were “proxies of the enemies of Pakistan and its people”.

He further said: “Pakistan’s resolve is very important. It (Mastung incident) is such a case where we won’t say that we will go after [only terrorist] operatives and foot soldiers.

“We will go after their masterminds, the lynchpins managing all these proxies and will ensure that we will go wherever they are holed up, drag them out and take revenge for each and every martyr.”

He said the state’s resolve to combat terrorism was strengthened by “1000 per cent” after the Mastung carnage, adding that the state was ready to go to any extent required. “If there is a need to do operations in every inch of territory then we will do them,” Achakzai said.

“If there are links [to terrorism] in Pakistan with our neighbouring country, and it seems [that way because] we have clear evidence of Indian state terrorism in Balochistan in the recent past.

“If these links are found there [in Balochistan] today as well then we will make sure that our enemies are cut by thousands.”

The information minister also said the families of the martyrs would be provided financial aid and not left disappointed. Detailing the financial package for the victims, Achakzai said every martyr’s family would be given Rs1.5 million, Rs0.5m would be distributed to the critically injured and Rs0.2m to the nominally injured by the provincial government.

He said the Balochistan government was also in talks with the Centre to improve the package.

The interim minister also said that security protocols were being revisited in the wake of the incident and any loopholes would be plugged to ensure no security lapse occurs.

There is an important Apex Committee meeting scheduled in Islamabad for October 3 in which “very critical decisions will be taken” with a later provincial apex committee meeting on Oct 10 in which “highly decisive decisions and actions will be recommended”, he told the media persons.

The information minister’s declaration of concerted efforts against militancy and foreign elements comes a day after similar calls from other civil and military leadership.

Shutter down strike across Balochistan

A shutter down strike was observed on Sunday throughout the province on the call given by the Etihad Ahl-e-Sunnat, Balochistan, against the Mastung tragedy.

All markets and trade centres are closed in Quetta, Mastung, Ziarat, Kalat and other cities and towns of Balochistan. Rallies are being taken out to condemn the attack and offer Fateha for the victims.

Political parties and various business organisations have announced their support for the strike.

On Saturday, the Ittehad gave call for a shutter down strike across the province on October 1 and demanded that the mastermind of the Mustang tragedy be brought to justice. Meanwhile, the death toll reached 60 in the suicide attack on a procession taken out to mark Eid Miladun Nabi in Mastung on Friday.

 

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