In response to a suicide bombing at a Peshawar mosque on January 30, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said that even worshippers in India have not been killed while praying.
Reportedly, more than 100 people have been killed and many more have been injured as a result of the suicide bomb attack.
Addressing the Pakistan National Assembly, the minister said that even in India and Israel where Muslims are in minority, worshippers weren’t killed while offering prayers, but it happened in Pakistan. The explosion occurred in the central hall of the Peshawar mosque, around 1 pm, on Monday.
Dawn news publication reported that the minister urged unity in the fight against terrorism, saying that Pakistan needs to “put its house in order”. According to Khwaja Asif, terrorism incidents increased between 2010 and 2017 because of the Pakistan People’s Party ‘s tenure in Swat, and ended during the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s previous tenure in Karachi.
“But if you remember, a year-and-a-half or two years ago […] we were given a briefing two, three times in this same hall in which it was clearly stated that talks could be carried out against these people and they can be brought toward peace,” he added.
A variety of opinions have been expressed on the issue, but no “conclusive decision” has been reached, stated the minister. In addition, Khwaja Asif said that thousands of people were left without jobs after Afghan refugees settled in Pakistan, and that the first evidence surfaced when Swat protested against the resettled people.
He noted that the people of Wana also protested and expressed similar emotions. “I am mentioning these incidents because of the tragedy that occurred yesterday […] the terrorist was standing in the frontline during Zuhr prayers where he detonated himself,” he said.
Asif said that the prime minister and the army commander were briefed on the incident when they were in Peshawar. “But this is a tragedy where we require the same resolve and unity which was expressed in 2011-2012,” he said.
The defence minister remarked, “I will not talk for long but I will say briefly that at the start, we sowed the seeds for terrorism.”
He said that Pakistan provided its services to the United States “on rent” when Russia attacked Afghanistan. “General Zia was the ruler at the time […] the agreement made with the US went on for eight to nine years after which the US went back to Washington celebrating the fact that Russia was defeated,” he mentioned.
Meanwhile, India expressed its condolences for the victims of the tragic incident on Tuesday. Minister of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi shared on Twitter, “India extends its deep condolences to the families of the victims of the terror attack in Peshawar yesterday. We strongly condemn this attack, which has taken the lives of so many people.”
A number of leaders from all political parties of Pakistan and across the world condemned the crime and showed support for the victims of the horrible blast that has shocked the nation.